Literary Mama writing about the many faces of motherhood
Psychology of a Daughter

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When you leave,
you will not be a handful
of porcelain pounds.
You will not disappear into every
mirror, your reflection in storefronts,
your warbled facade in the sides of cars.
You will not fear doorways,
the lovely bow of your hips,
the burst of nipples
beneath cotton camisoles.
Stones will not clutter in your heart
when the boy kisses you in flooding
parking lot rain or tapes adore
twenty-three times to the windshield.
The photo of you, Solemn One,
leotarded on your father’s lap
will not make you sob. The straight back
of his armchair will not make you startle.
The purr of a Spanish r will not
cleave and core you, as you sob
for the good nights
when he’d thrum the guitar.

Rather,
you will be exultant and jasmined.
Your hair will kiss the small of your back
as you are canopied in our arms.
The boy will never stop praising
the marble of your fingernails.
The boy will enter and glide
the crest of your laugh.
And your father, he will hold your eyes
and think, my Cosette. He will remind you
of peeking backstage together
to watch the dancers—how this
nested in your wrists forever.
And when you drive away,
a sash from the sun transfiguring
your cheek crystalline,
there will be a breeze
and the tangle of a flag.
There will be the tick of a sprinkler,
and a father turned from the road,
moist prayers in his palms
and nothing to rue.


Monica Burchfield, a native of northern Florida and of Cuban heritage, has a M.A. in poetry from Georgia State University. Her poems have been published in journals such as Kudzu Review, Mêlée, Rhino, Rattle, New South, Deep South Magazine, Terra Incognita, Dappled Things, The Healing Muse, Glass, Willow Springs, and Jelly Bucket. She has a chapbook published by La Vita Poetica Press entitled Lapis Lazuli. She currently teaches creative writing at Georgia Highlands College in Marietta, where she resides with her husband and four children.


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