My baby, my daughter, ....My God!

my baby, my daughter, my god....
Judith Ann Hillard

we wrap her in pink
tape a bow to her head
we show her off to grandma
and our people at church
we celebrate each word, each step, each tooth
we chase scary monsters from beneath her bed
and hold her at night praying she will grow well

we cry as we take her to school the first day
and prop ourselves up for recitals
and kid plays and pta
we cart crates of cookies to neighbors and friends
and try to sew badges on vests for her chest
we drive her to ballet and soccer and swimming

when suddenly she doesn't want to be tucked
we still check her sleeping, our baby, our doll
her friends grow more creepy each year
and she shuts the door now and hangs hours on the phone
instead of at my feet asking endless questions
she cares not for my opinions on any subject at all

i once lit her face when i walked in a room
where is my baby? my child? my angel?

she goes off to college and sometimes comes home
clothes scraggly and dirty, i launder and fold
she talks online and whispers in cells, she leaves
late at night
as she borrows our car
i pace through my home, her room, and the
windows
and wonder what happened? where is she? how
late?
how can i love her through heartbreaks and braces
and skinned knees and not know her now? she told
me
every story every day after school. she cried every
tear in my arms or his.
so who is this tall child putting drugs in her veins?
where is my darling? my baby? my child?

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