Cameren at age 4, taken Mother’s Day 2005
In Response to My 13 Year-Old Daughter’s Letter
Apologize? For regretting your birth?
That the white dove of sarcasm
has officially fledged from your belly
alit on the canopy & uncaged its crystal trill
comes to me as no surprise
But neither of us could have foreseen the power
your brooding would conceive of pencil & ire
before the moment you spat out crumpled & hand delivered
my saltwater baptism
Your own tears now dried for hours blaze for me
from the gold heart in your gray-green eyes
willing my belief that you truly didn’t realize
I’ve been there your whole life
At sundown I’m the one always stumbling through the wood
like some sort of village idiot brandishing my dim lantern
at the giant pines as if I might catch them in the act
of uprooting themselves & slinking away
Though you flit by & vanish into the trees
in a flash I can barely make out as a memory
your trace among the cedars & silvertips remains as innate in me
as the wolf’s way to her newborn cub’s whimper
Two months early
yet already ripe for the triumph
& pain only the fiercest have dared to carry in one body
you were born to fly from me—
& so how could I ever be sorry
to know of finding you over & over again?
STEPHANIE L. HARPER
Thank you to editor Eli T. Mond for giving this piece a home in the December 2017 edition of The Ibis Head Review.
“In Response to My 13 Year-Old Daughter’s Letter” is included in my debut poetry chapbook, This Being Done, which is available for order NOW from Finishing Line Press!
If you would like to order a copy, I ask that you please do so as soon as possible before the deadline for pre-publication orders on April 27, 2018. Although my book is scheduled for release in June, the print-run is based on a minimum quota of copies ordered during the two-month presale period ending on April 27, 2018.
Order online: This Being Done, by Stephanie L. Harper
I’d like to express my heartfelt gratitude to any of you who have already preordered This Being Done. Your investment in and appreciation for who I am and what I do means more to me than I could ever adequately express. This journey wouldn’t be the same without your support!