In Which I Compare My Daughter to Stars
My daughter’s red hair is so startling
strangers stop us
walking home from school,
in the grocery, while she hangs
on my arm in the mall, just to mention
how its colour— like the fresh heat of a protostar--
has affected them.
So, she already knows the power of a stranger’s attention.
I am startled, in front of a painting
that has propelled me light years into the future.
Where a young woman, my daughter
has turned her head toward a man.
Her neck has expanded,
to hold everything I’ve taught her
plus the weight that that comes
with the gravity of growing up.
What does she know now?
Of the man who for hours
stared at what she’s become.
What does he know of her?
How, when she was young enough to hold
her mother sang to her on a porch swing
as the universe swung in unison.
Yes, there is the best mix of blue and grey
to splash the galaxies of her iris.
The skill to draw wire across her frame,
so she may hang on a gallery wall.
Here, years from now
strangers see her elbow point west
toward a source of dim light,
her hair—hot red, the core of the sun--
and again feel compelled to stare
and say something.
Noah Renn is writer and teacher living in Norfolk, Virginia. His poetry and nonfiction have appeared in The Virginian-Pilot, The Quotable, Princess Anne Independent News, Full Grown People, and Whurk, among other journals. He is a 2015 Pushcart Prize nominee. He teaches composition and literature at Old Dominion University, and leads a poetry workshop at the nonprofit organization, The Muse Writers Center.
6/26/2016 06:33:57 pm
As the actual mother of the painted daughter, I thank you for putting my nebulous thoughts into such beautiful words.
6/26/2016 07:52:42 pm
You guys are making me cry. Your right Noah and Deborah. I will never know your daughters the way you do. I am just another witness attracted by the red hair. Having studied your child for hours I have put my own narration on her. This is guided by the few tidbits she has shared with me and more so by my own experiences which I have burdened her with. I will never know her the way you do.
6/27/2016 02:15:53 am
Lovely poem. It has sent me on a quest to find more work by Noah Renn.
5/25/2021 12:43:12 am
A very sensitive author of this poem! I like it! Thank you!
Your comment will be posted after it is approved.
Leave a Reply.
The Ekphrastic Review
Join us on Facebook: