a day of poetry

Father’s Day
by James Tate

My daughter has lived overseas for a number
of years now. She married into royalty, and they
won’t let her communicate with any of her family or
friends. She lives on birdseed and a few sips
of water. She dreams of me constantly. Her husband,
the Prince, whips her when he catches her dreaming.
Fierce guard dogs won’t let her out of their sight.
I hired a detective, but he was killed trying to
rescue her. I have written hundreds of letters
to the State Department. They have written back
saying that they are aware of the situation. I
never saw her dance. I was always at some
convention. I never saw her sing. I was always
working late. I called her My Princess, to make
up for my shortcomings, and she never forgave me.
Birdseed was her middle name.

My Father’s Daughter

Forever known as my father’s daughter—
so much less than royalty. How do we
communicate? In tiny sips spilled
from chapped lips and dreams
shared but never realized.

Wind whips my hair and skin
and guards drop when winter stops.
Would be killed birds
rescued by you
and written by me with bad pen
into a new situation.

They dance, you dance, we dance
and break convention. You never called
me Princess, but you always forgave, and
gave birdseed.

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