to my daughter, 21

Dear, as you journey through a volcanic country
where nothing grows, the ground is harsh on the foot,
old smoke is in the air, and an acrid smell
tells of an all-too-near and all-too-certain
roar of the wronged (and a new sorrow settles
upon the shoulders of your sisters and brothers
in this or that village), as you see further into
the landscape of loss – taste the weariness, feel it,

for you are condemned to joy. Brushed by wild flowers,
light with a touch of the sky as a woman knows it,
cousin to Nature’s green, you are in no shadow
of her defeat. Open to the vista
of a singed world, still you accept your sentence,
never alone, and near to a father’s love.

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