Mary Leader began writing poems in the midst of a career as a lawyer in her home state of Oklahoma, first as an Assistant State Attorney General and later as a Referee for the Oklahoma Supreme Court. She is the author of two award-winning books in the United States: Red Signature, a selection of the 1996 National Poetry Series, published by Graywolf Press in 1997; and The Penultimate Suitor, winner of the 2000 Iowa Poetry Prize, published by the University of Iowa Press in 2001. (Shearsman Books)
This poem just reminded me so much of how I felt when Stef got engaged. I thought it was very tender…
for my daughter Sara Marie
There was a time her door was never closed.
Her music box played “Für Elise” in plinks.
Her crib new-bought—I drew her sleeping there.
The little drawing sits beside my chair.
These days, she ornaments her hands with rings.
She’s seventeen. Her door is one I knock.
There was a time I daily brushed her hair
By window light—I bathed her, in the sink
In sunny water, in the kitchen, there.
I’ve bought her several thousand things to wear,
And now this boy buys her silver rings.
He goes inside her room and shuts the door.
Those days, to rock her was a form of prayer.
She’d gaze at me, and blink, and I would sing
Of bees and horses, in the pasture, there.
The drawing sits as still as nap-time air—
Her curled-up hand—that precious line, her cheek…
Next year her door will stand, again, ajar
But she herself will not be living there.
Picture Credit: www.shearsman.com