Watching My Daughter Conform
(after Littleton)

The other kids say she is weird.
She has twenty-four different ways to say

dumb-ass. The teachers
wonder why can't she color in the lines.

Her sapphire eyes have changed to camouflage
fatigue. It is the rage. Soft. Blue.

Undulant and intoxicating. The color of blood
before oxygen. I wear high school memories

safety pinned to my left aorta.
like a corsage. I boxed my combat boots.

The 1950's black and white prom dress torn
fishnets burned eleven years ago.

I spout the rhetoric of defiant difference.
My mouth moves in slow motion. Emits backward

record sounds. I have no proof
other than open heart surgery

and she would squirm if I aired
those faded flowers. I find scraps

of notebook paper in her
jeans. Lists. Act Dumb. Giggle.

Wear sundresses. Watch TV. Don't talk
about computers. How could I

understand? I am mother now. Too dull.
My matt knife can not break the corrugated

brown cardboard cartons she is using
like a womb. Once upon a time, I imagined

she would be a river. Never content
to stay between two banks

wearing down the rocks.

(Her Divine Serenity)