Keith Parsons

(02/03/1962 / Delaware)

Riley (my favorite daughter, my only daughter)


I remember you, curly haired, baby hair
Tee shirt and pull-ups and your sippy cup,
Standing in front of the TV pronouncing 'Bid-bir'
The best you could while I wrestled with Toby
And you spun and squealed your baby-go-happy-life

A little later you held the rail with one hand
And gracefully executed your pointy toe dance
With head bowed, the nape of your neck exposed,
Flowing pink taffeta shimmering in your recital
at Miss Kim's School of Dance

I loved you always from a two state distance,
Though I'd drive twenty states to see you
For our magical weekends and regretful
Weekend-ends where back at home we would
Blow kisses on the phone counting the days

Coming to Grandmom's was fine, the beach was too,
Until you changed like all kids do, to find
What was once fun is now silly and dull
And, 'Adults can really s_uck and my mother's a b_tch'
And, 'I had to grow up too fast, too wary'

I know you did sweetheart because every time you hurt
I bled in silence, my hands tied behind my back,
Able but unable to help you fight your nemesis, able but unable
To make your wish come true, to blink your eyes
And escape on my private jet (with the arcade)

And then the time came when your life became more
Yours than mine, when you told me no more secrets,
But kept them for yourself, when pleasant hugs and kisses
Were probably more difficult then they were before and you wished
You could tell me things but somehow you just couldn't

But now when you blink your eyes you see life
In Philadelphia when you go to work or to Starbucks
With your boyfriend, walking, wearing big sunglasses,
Down a windy city street atop heels that make your
Legs and hips walk a little faster than the rest of you

And maybe one day you'll live in a warehouse flat with an elevator,
Exposed steel and brick, open floor plan, large windows and big walls
To hang your pictures and maybe some of Ryan's artwork
Where you can look down on Philadelphia and realize
How far you've come and how all of that had to happen

And, I'm still here thinking of you, my favorite daughter,
Looking forward to weekends and hearing your stories
Of the big city as you glide effortlessly across the floor
To grab a few more Twizzlers or maybe your cell phone
And I realize that everything is good and you can pronounce, 'Big Bird'

Submitted: Wednesday, April 01, 2009

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