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Daddy's little girl

my father bought
a $200 painting
to hang on a wall
in the house of stone
that he built
on a hill

the picture is simple
in a simple frame
a girl dressed in gray
a sky riddled with clouds
a house of stone
on a hill


she looks sad
but I like her dress
it looks like my dress
the one I hung up
in my room
on the door
where I can see it
so I don’t forget the night
I felt like a little princess

my father dropped
my blue writing desk
that all my friends had signed
and left tiny messages upon
to remember them by
now the corner is chipped
and the paint peels
little love letters
little broken hearts
just crumble away

It’s blue
like the wide open skies
in the painting
and my dress
it’s a beautiful dress
my blue and black dress
with tiny sequences and needle work
and little bits of lace

I love that dress
He took it down from the door
said it was damaging the paint
denting the door frame
my dress lay piled on the floor
in a heap
I love that dress

If you look at it closely
that is, the door
you’ll find no dent or chip
no scratch in the paint
but my dress is torn at the hem
you stepped on it on the way out

and my little blue desk
is chipped

Your painting will look
lovely on your perfect wall
I hope it covers up
all the baby hand prints I left there
long ago
so you wouldn’t forget me
no matter how hard you scrubbed
and rubbed
and tried to wipe the mess away

I finished cleaning your floor
it shines like silver
I made sure not to leave a smudge
you can see your face
reflected back like water
on the smooth wood

you walked across it
in your shiny shoes
and left perfect mud tracks
from door to door

I’ll clean it again.
No worries.

And then I’ll help you hang
that picture on the wall
with a level
to make sure
it’s exactly straight

And when I fall asleep on my bed
and forget to take off my shoes
or to take out the trash
perhaps you’ll hesitate
to roll my filthy shoes away
lest I dirty the bed…
to toss me out with the rubbish
to drop me on the polished floor

like my little writing desk
and my blue dress

I chip too.





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