«How to Watch Your Daughter Grow»: en Label Me Latina/o.

Label Me Latina/o, una revista sobre la producción literaria latina de los siglos XX y XXI, acaba de publicar un poema de mi autoría, «how to watch your daughter grow», en su edición de otoño del 2015, volumen V. La revista es editada por Michele Shaul y Kathryn Quinn-Sánchez

how to watch your daughter grow

at first, it is dejection. denial.

you hallucinate a yellow “Baby on Board” sign
on the back of a minivan you don’t  even own –yet, 
so before your daughter turns into flesh,
she grows on you like a possibility:
beyond philosophical quests,
the physics of the womb astound you

your wife doubles up on weight,
and triples up in charms

she also says you stink,
and urges to get out of the house
while she eats delicate pastries
you bought for her after work

but that belly of hers ripples,
aerodynamic and expanding,
with your daughter inside

she wiggles and squirms, a form of unspoken
language that is named in your blood

until that day comes
when you find yourself rushing to the hospital

-my water broke, your wife said, and you thought
about life as a fish-
and you’re awestruck,
jaw-dropped and thinking of beer

every book your wife made you read on what to expect
when she was expecting is rendered useless

and so, your daughter becomes a metaphor
for all the poems you will never understand

            your wife looks at you in fear,
glance lost in yours, an emergent
condition of gravity, and she longs
for your words –the ones she said
you were good at- but space is filled
with awkward muteness by degrees
as the girl supernovas into the world

you think you just witnessed
the birth of a star

and she is induced into her first
cry- she looks maddened- she fights
the nurse and the warm blanket and
the pink baby cap- she wants back,
back where it was safer

you word your daughter into life:
welcome to the world, you mutter

her eyes shine like constellations
in the expandable truths of the universe

as years go by, after the diapers,
the colored dinosaurs, the mermaid
fantasies, and the evenings together
reading books about wizards
and fairies, you become
an expert dad –or so you think–,
until one night she catches you
watching the starlit sky and she wants
to know what you're doing

you don’t want to tell her
you’re connecting dots of dead light
to find a way out of the miserable collapse
her mother and you are going through

and so you tell her: I’m stargazing;

you just think
about constants and change

she wants to know why does that even matter
but the answer eludes you, a fading comet
across the horizon, so she insists in knowing
what are stars made of,  and you choose not to tell her
it’s only gas and stardust and stuff, and settle for an explanation
as you know best: stars are made of light

myriads of sparkling galaxies
populate your daughter’s face

just like us, Daddy, she says

just like us, you repeat

you land a kiss on her forehead

by the time she is fourteen, you memorize
her Ariana Grande’s songs and you
karaoke at the wheel while driving her
to art lessons –konichiwa, learn all about Manga
and chibi characters- and you take her to the movies and
endure “The Fault Under the Stars” with her, and after the
popcorn and the sodas and the candy bars, you realize
you just saved her from being lonely

until that broken day when you find
your daughter sitting on the front lawn

you would ask her what is she doing,
but you already know the story

her eyes drill holes in the barren blindness
of the sky- such sadness and rancor

her sobbing spreads in the crisp air
as you drop your bags and embrace her

you both head back into the house

where she’ll feel safer, and you, less selfish


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