Six Seagulls

You have a daughter, and she doesn’t know what to say.

You have a daughter, and she’s fading away.

When was the last time you looked at her? She eats like a bird. A little of this, [a lot] less of that. You’re proud of her — she’s disciplined. Driven. She’s going places.

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Your daughter? She has six seagulls, splayed across her stomach. Look at them. Not one of them can fly.

You have a daughter, and she’s a grown girl. She’s not a soccer star. She’s not a sailor — just the right size. She’s not a skier, either. (Downhill and cross-country, you can keep them both.) She can do without her tennis racket and her track trophies, too. Such a shame. She wants her bed, her desk. Her mom’s first painting.

Your daughter? She’s not a beauty-to-be. Something must have happened. She’s not a screaming success. She’s not just what you wanted — your daughter. Those times are long gone.

You have a daughter, and she’s never liked numbers. She’s never liked to drive. How could you expect her to? You never showed her how.

Your daughter? She’s never been terribly interested in what makes the wheels go round and round. She doesn’t understand why you would want to take things apart. She likes things together. Working, together. There are enough broken things.

You have a daughter, and she wants your I love you. She wants you to say it. Say it. She dares you.

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You have a daughter, and it’s not enough, to top off the tank. It’s not enough, to tug her ponytail, once a year. It’s not enough, to suggest steak tips (sometimes). It’s not enough, to tap out four sentences, when she writes first.

You have a daughter, and she loves words. Ask her about her favorites. You have a daughter, and she’s a writer. Ask her what she writes about.

You have a daughter, and she’s packed with stories. Sentence-thoughts. Shards of glass — they all hurt. She’s hurt, your daughter.

You have a daughter, and she doesn’t know what intimacy is. She can’t touch it, can’t come close. She doesn’t think you can, either. You have a daughter, and she no longer thinks you hung the moon.

You have a daughter, and she loves chocolate. Loves it. Yes — your daughter. She loves chocolate and cheese and all the things you think are bad.

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You have a daughter, and she drinks coffee instead. Lattes, with skim milk. You should know that, about her.

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You have a barn, a garage, a circular driveway, a fleet full of boats, and a phone that rings. You have a bag of frozen peas, a guest room, a too-big house, and you have a daughter. You still have a daughter.

She has lakes for eyes, your daughter.

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