My Daughter

You don’t know me, & you never will. For you I walked through fire. For you I gave up 20 years of my life; I devoted myself to you. I put myself in harm’s way; not once but many times. I walked into the fear with my intestines in knots – ignored my screaming guts – because you were there. I gave up the love of my life because he was not a safe pair of hands for you, & I found a pair that was safe, who you loved, & watched you torment him. I don’t know how else to love than to live it every day. I don’t know what love means other than to care more for you than myself, & sacrifice, to clear your path. Only you could make me believe that my effort was in vain, because you despised the gift I gave you – life. Oh my daughter a day dawned in which I did not know you. I could not see the child I brought into the light of a winter’s day. A day came when I closed like a shell over the ache in my heart that only you could put there. You survived. Now you probe like a vivisector to find fat scallops of pain & eat them up. But I am whole. I have taken back my pain. It is buried too deep for you ever to find it. You cannot expose my nerves to be flayed again. I see you try – teasing, twisting, goading. I turn my attention elsewhere, & laugh, about something else. I am shut, & the key is lost.

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