Daughter

You were two days into the world when we stole
you away. The white haired nurse
placed you in my arms and whispered
"Take her before her mother sees her."
I drove so slowly you'd have thought
I was carrying fragile china that might break
if I made one wrong turn.
In the years that flew by
I made many. When you fell I picked you up
too soon, but when you called for help
only your guardian angel heard.
Buried in a room of words
I couldn't hear your cry. You found the help
you've needed ever since,
and it's killing us both.

You were born with a soft white name like a gift
falling from heaven: Snow. You've worn
my awkward Irish name and made it fit.
I'm wearing the old black sweatshirt
you gave me years ago, with the stains in front
that won't wash out. It helps me feel clean.
I wear it like your name.
When you were playing
hide-and-seek with your mothers
I mentioned changing your name to Snow,
to maybe help you get a better sense
of who you are. You smiled and shook your head,
to tell me who you are. And now to rain
falls and cleanses, as I bring down
these awkward words, still so afraid you'll break.

Robert Funge