My Daughter’s Room

By on Jul 4, 2016 in Poetry | 2 comments

Painting My Daughter’s Room

I step into my daughter’s room
ladder, brushes, tape and paint
blue for walls
brown for beams
white for trim.
I begin:
from the wall, a soccer trophy
from the desk, a portrait – signed Jane Goodall
from the bedpost, a string of beads
…as if I were erasing her.

This far I have come
as I knew I would one day.
She is the last of three
and more precious for that.
I miss her ev’ry breath and step:
the noise from her TV
the patter of her showering
the stillness of her sleep.

Dog hairs leak from a bedspread
where the two kept company
fleck the floor before I sweep
and I think how so closely knit
in hominess they were.

Now a dog of her own
certainly a boy to fill her bed
a purpose other than childhood dreams
pater familius minus
and a life built elsewhere.

Yet I scrape, patch, paint
heart heavy, eyes abrim.
These three have gone.
I hold on to the last of them
even as her presence
is swallowed by a coat of pain.
each stroke of the brush hiding a memory.



  1. So well understood.

    As Rilke wrote, “We need, in love, to practice only this: letting each other go. For holding on comes easily; we do not need to learn it.”

    Robert Kowalczyk

    August 4, 2016

  2. A bitter-sweet reflection on being a parent. We may wish to hold them close forever, but the best we can do for them is to let them go. And if we are truly fortunate, they will make their own way.

    Vinni Ercole

    August 18, 2016

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