Daughter Poem

By Lisa Dordal

Featured Art: The Artist’s Daughter by H. Lyman Saÿen

Sometimes I see her pressing her palms
against a windowpane in a house that is real

the way a house in a dream is real
until you start to describe it and all you can say is:

it was this house, only it wasn’t. It’s winter
and she likes to feel the cold entering her body.

Or it’s summer and it’s heat she’s after.
She wasn’t born, so she can’t die.

Sometimes there is a window but no girl,
and I am the one walking toward it.

Sometimes I see her peering in—
forehead against the screen of our back door—

or running ahead of me on a path that is real
the way a path in a dream is real, saying:

this way, this way.


Lisa Dordal is the author of Mosaic of the Dark, which was a finalist for the 2019 Audre Lorde Award. Her second book, Water Lessons, is forthcoming in 2022. She is a Pushcart Prize and Best-of-the-Net nominee, and recipient of an Academy of American Poets University Prize and the Robert Watson Poetry Prize. Her poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Narrative, RHINO, Best New Poets, Ninth Letter, CALYX, The Greensboro Review and The Sun.

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