To the boys who may one day date my daughter: I have been waiting for you.
Since before her birth, since before my spark took hold
and ignited the fire in her mother’s belly, I have been training
to kill you. When you took your first steps,
I was preparing to make it so you never walked again.
When you played at war I was perfecting my headshots.
You can’t catch up at this point. And when you first meet my daughter
and fall in love with the look she sends over her shoulder,
her crescent moon eyes framing her laughing smile,
you are going to want to talk to her. And when those hours pass by like sprinters
during that first timeless conversation you will also know, with a deep and impending
sense of dread, that you are going to have to talk to me. When you first come to my home
and see the bone carving over my threshold, try not to imagine your own femurs so expertly
carved. Pay no attention to my ample crawlspace,
my room with the rubber mat and drain. Be careful only to approach me
with love for my daughter. See, I have been seeding her childhood
with tap root hugs to weed out indifference and apathy.
There will be no daddy issues for your teenaged talons to latch upon. If you break her heart,
I will hear it snap with the ear I pressed against her mother’s
belly. The elbow I cradled her head in
will send a message to my fist. My cheeks are attuned to her lips,
I will know if they tremble. I have taught her that a man should never
hit a woman. Now, her mother would add that you really
shouldn’t ever hit anybody, but I have taught her that a man should NEVER
HIT A WOMAN! Consider my genes a mark of Cain,
you will suffer seven times whatever you do to her.
And she will not keep your secret, you can’t make fire feel afraid. I have been teaching her love all of her life,
and all that I ask is that you continue the lesson.
Love her, befriend her, protect her. Be there when I can’t.
And when my body gives up to the grave let the grin that eternity carves into my
face be a reflection of the peace that your love
brings to her, and we should get along just fine. ADDENDUM To the girls who may one day date my daughter: My wife is a better shot than I am.