When I first read today’s NaPoWriMo prompt, I immediately shut down and decided not to do it because I knew it would be an emotional experience. But then I remembered a moment that has stayed with me for many years, and I wanted to get it down on paper. Here is today’s prompt:
Today I challenge you to write a poem in the voice of a member of your family. This can be a good way to try to distance yourself from your own experience, without reaching so far away from your own life that it’s hard to come up with specific, realistic details.
There she goes, my girl, my only girl.
She looks twelve, though her passport says sixteen.
She’s so small; so determined, stubborn, keen.
She chose this, but does she know
It means we’ll miss the rest of
Her childhood years, her Mum and I?
It’s a fork in the road, a path
Away from us. In the blink of an eye,
She will be in graduation dress
Then probably another, because
I know my daughter.
I taught her to sail, you know,
But it was not her dream, and
Nothing will make this girl do
What she doesn’t want to.
But when she wants to do something,
Be good at something,
She’s a force of nature,
Like the sea that raised her.
My water baby is taking to the skies,
To a redder pasture Down Under.
Her mother has tears in her eyes,
And I hold back mine.
She needs to know we are fine.
She needs to find her own wings.
I know she’ll be all right;
We raised her sensible, responsible,
And we handed down that stubbornness
That I think will keep her safe and true.
There she goes, through the boarding gate…
To forge her own path.
So early… so soon…
She’s mine and not mine any more,
My girl, my only girl.