The late night fights are long lost. The where have you beens bitter. The smoke on their hair a medal. And what of the body along the railroad tracks with neither of their names? Our daughters: willows, cello fields, high in the air like Chagall, like a quaint village razed. Come, sing to me or the police lieutenant. Look at their ravishing linger. These daughters, from my earliest childhood of dragons and gorgons, they’ve arrived. The diapers, shit and piss, the A.M’s and arguing, the social workers, and the dead end jobs—all for what? To carry them on our shoulders, to teach them to make a fist. Your hands which tried to save my name, only of course, heavy with Vodka, so many years ago, instead shouted. Now they walk as if they boil, brood and bruise, as if they bed as if they are a river, dive in they say, drink until you drown. When they smolder out of the house, the snow melts beneath their boots, what do they wear under their long coats, hey you wait, we cannot stop them, tall and fierce, nails painted, tattooed and pierced tongues, they will not listen to anyone, we raised them wrong, far from the priest with his long cassock), we raised them without any fear, it is what our daughters have earned, there is no beating them down, and when they look up, the doved sky burns—brass and blurrs, Zs of electric light, stretching their long necks like mares, or swans—
Sean Thomas Dougherty is the author or editor of 13 books including All You Ask for Is Longing: Poems 1994- 2014 (2014 BOA Editions) Scything Grace (2013 Etruscan Press) and Sasha Sings the Laundry on the Line (2010 BOA Editions). His awards include two Pennsylvania Arts Council Fellowships in Poetry, and a US Fulbright Lectureship to the Balkans. He works in a pool hall in Erie, PA, and tours for readings.