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poetry by Bella Mahaya Carter

A Letter to my Daughter

Dear Daughter,
When the world tries to pry your fingers from the slippery rim of your own instinct remember you are here to teach as well as learn. Do not be timid. Grow tall as redwoods, fierce as a shark, and carry a wide ocean heart. Howl when you must. Peel onions and cry, examine thoughts that rattle your skull. Dust underneath your bed. If you have to be sick, make sure the toilets are not clogged, nor the sink overflowing. Remember your ancestors, hold their stories in your hands like stones, sink into your gut and let it quiver, like your granddad’s fingers as he lights his pipe. Suck an orange, roll out a pie crust of clear intentions, trim your bangs, hunker down, tell a lie, bare your fangs, bite down hard on the fleshy arm that holds its hand over your mouth—but do not be surprised to find it is your own. Bleed and swell, welcome coins and consciousness. Fly south with the geese, take your place at the front of the formation; make it easier for those behind you. Dust your hiking boots, hit the trail, fret not over wind erasing your footprints. Even as you stumble, cough and curse, know you are headed in the right direction—right and wrong are pancakes easily flipped. Bake an angel. Blow out candles, become a year wiser. Feast! Invite guests or dine alone. Sweep for the untidy, wail for the orphans, beat pillows, curl your eyelashes and cry your mascara onto canvas. Life is an abstract impressionist painting: one moment a waterfall, and the next, a bolt of lightening cracking open your sky.
Yours forever,
Mama

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  • Marilyn

    I LOVE THIS POEM. Please tell Bella Carter. For me, it is powerful, strong. I love it! Marilyn