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your daughter lies peacefully, sleeping,
dreaming.
you watch her calm, leisurely breaths
and you don’t see airplanes
crashing into towers in her mind,
you don’t see her replay the videotape of
her father’s murder.

the date is september 11, 2005.
4 days ago marks her 7th year on earth.
4 years ago marks the day her father left.

last year marks the year she really understood what happened.
she came home from school crying,
she told you she knew where daddy was—
and you held her, like any widowed mother would.

you told her of horrible men,
ruthless men. it only makes her cry more.
you told her about her daddy,
her loving father,
the man you fell in love with during high school.
you recount that day with a smile—
before the crash happened, anyway—
you tell her how daddy played paddy cake before he left,
just like he did every day.
but don’t worry, she remembers. she always will.

you ended tonight with a heavy prayer
and you told her that daddy sent his love.
4 days ago, you laid chocolate on her pillow for her to find,
and told her daddy left it.

now, we know that’s not possible,
but nonetheless, she believed you.
she wrote to him,
and you cried while you read the letter
you never bothered to send.

today, you thought about those horrible men.
but you didn’t think of the widows they left behind.
the women just like you.
and what about their children?
a little girl just like your daughter.
it never crossed your mind.

you forget about the days lost planning.
they knew they were going to leave their families.
did they say goodbye and i love you
for the last time and think
this really is the last time,
or
is this really the last time?

and the extended hugs.
their wives clinging onto them,
their oblivious children being held,
for the very last time.

how about their last moments?
what could those horrible men possibly be thinking of?

learn to say thank you in kurdish.
learn to say it’s been a pleasure in dari.
learn to say i love you in arabic.

maybe this makes you feel something,
maybe it doesn’t.
maybe you feel bad hearing about the poisoned
environment they live in.
think about the hurt bystanders,
the lovers watching each other be buried by war.
the mothers who can’t keep cancer out of their babies’ brains.

think about them when you watch your daughter sleep tonight.

breathe in, breathe out.
breathe in, breathe out.
just saying it makes you think about your own breath, right?
breathe in, breathe out.

tell her i love you,

in arabic—
the language of the land where the horrible men came from,
the ones that turned your beautiful life upside down.
their daughters are crying, too.



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This article has 11 comments. Post your own!

LifeInTechnicolourThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Jan. 2 at 1:15 pm:
Hard-hitting and emotional. Stunning job.
 
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kassica said...
Jan. 1 at 1:35 pm:
This is absolutely a brilliant piece of work.  
 
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KristinCThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. said...
Dec. 30, 2012 at 11:15 pm:
This is brilliant...the emotions are beautiful, and you are truly a wordsmith.
 
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Rancom said...
Dec. 29, 2012 at 8:04 pm:
I never once thought of it like this. Thank you so much for this poem. It truly means a lot--not just to me, I'm sure. 
 
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. said...
Dec. 29, 2012 at 4:13 pm:
What a beautiful and tragic piece! I loved it!
 
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Lover-of-the-Sloths said...
Dec. 29, 2012 at 1:59 pm:
the last line was brilliant
 
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FakesmileThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. said...
Dec. 23, 2012 at 3:19 pm:
It was beautiful. Sad, but beautiful none the less. I loved it and i want you to know that you would make a very amazing current events writer. :) Great job. 
 
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FayrouzThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Dec. 21, 2012 at 12:22 pm:
Very beautiful. This poem just makes the reader slow down and feel the weight of every word. Keep writing :)
 
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VickyNickyKittyThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. said...
Dec. 21, 2012 at 12:05 pm:
Wonderful job, I loved this poem!
 
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bekahboo said...
Dec. 20, 2012 at 9:44 pm:
This is amazing! You wrote with such sincerity and honesty. Beautiful piece. Good job!
 
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FearlessAngelThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. said...
Dec. 20, 2012 at 8:43 pm:
This is a heartbreaking slap in the face. Although I believe it to be a necessary slap. Beautiful writing.
 
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