Today's poem is by Sarah Freligh

Lullaby for the Daughter I Gave Away

Sometimes I write a letter of resignation to the universe
          and sometimes I forget to stamp the envelope, never
          without an argument. I used to believe

fact and truth were the same thing,
          though I learned to lie without smiling.

And now all I have is a picture of an old castle.

If I pin the picture above my desk,
          the prince will turn into a handsome frog,
          and he will grow a backbone and learn how
          to leap when I call him.

And I'll whisper, it's okay, you can save me.
          Be my sex.

I can never remember what to call him.

In fact, my father said I'd end up with a toad, a
          cold-blooded croaker. My mother used to say
          that if they drained the swamp, I'd find
          a date for the prom if I wasn't
          too picky. I moved out soon after.

Tragic, she said, to have a daughter who never writes home.

But now, at last, I've mucked
          through that swamp, arrived spry
          as a froglet at the altar of my desk
          and I forget I'm still wet and cold;
          I can't grasp a pen, and if I could

I wouldn't write home. But if I did, I'd say
          I'm okay, you can forget me. You can be
          my heavy bag

Someday, I'll be a sore hip,
          invisible. Because the
          ink on the letter is black and forever
          and someone

will read them out loud, the Gone will haunt us

and the skeletons will barge out of closets
          and riffle through refrigerators for
          the tongues they left behind.

Let them speak. You can be my frog, my toad, my letter home.
          Be my baby. My return address.

Copyright © 2013 Sarah Freligh All rights reserved
from A Brief Natural History of an American Girl
Accents Publishing
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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