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Poem for a Daughter


Here’s a dustbowl drenched in eucalyptus,
in the middle of nowhere
where I’ve been some dozen times.
Here’s a fire hydrant, brilliant, swallowed
by the shrunken brush. I hug it like it loves me,
lick it like it’s mine. I’m itching
and aching and bored. I need you to be born.
Make new what was never new, make it rain.
I’m killing bees with my bare hands.
I’ve ridden all the stable horses.
When I use a canteen
I love the word canteen.
I have lived on earth for thirty-one years now.

At twelve my legs gave on the bend.
At twenty I held a posy so close I hated it,
panicked, gave it away to ghosts.
Today you are inside me, promising,
swelling us, what kind of miracle
sitting down would be.
On the next hill there’s a movie set,
or a pep rally, it’s hard to tell in the shimmering heat.
It’s all tumbledown menacing, maybe a clothesline.
Windbreak branches ornament with intent,
litter the ground with their gum.
We aren’t native to this land.
It’s time to plant what is. It’s time to go home.


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melenick_80.jpgLynn Melnick’s poems have appeared in Boston Review, Paris Review, jubilat and LIT. Poems are forthcoming in A Public Space and Narrative. She was born in Indianapolis, grew up in Los Angeles, and currently lives in Brooklyn with her husband and their two daughters.

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