Friday, February 9, 2018

An Ode to My Daughter

#1 Sweet Tooth


In an empty kitchen at 7 p.m.

a four-year-old girl

wearing a pink Sofia the First

nightgown meanders awkwardly about,

tentative, dubious,

like she’s never been in a cookery before.


Her bare feet pitter-patter

from the dining area

to her bedroom and back again,

a slippery thief in the night.

The little girl cranes her neck

to somehow reach the top

of the refrigerator, like if she concentrates,

she’ll become a giraffe.


She combs the countertops,

opens the pantries,

searches our usual hiding places

for anything sugary,

a thirsty woman in tattered clothes

stranded in a desert,

an addict selling her parents’ Blu-ray

for an ounce of cocaine.


She catches me studying her pursuit

and segues into one of her dances,

a spry pirouette she learned in her

ballet class while frolicking

to “How Far I’ll Go”

from the Moana soundtrack.


I look away then catch her

continuing her quest

for anything enticing –

a cookie, a popsicle, a Tic Tac,

even the “old lady candy”

in the cupboard she longs for

like air or a new Barbie doll.


I tap her mother’s shoulder

in time for us both to catch

the perfect pout of longing

on our daughter’s face,

the glower of anxiety she wears

like a cloak when her sweet tooth

sings like Idina Menzel.


We watch as our darling girl

maneuvers a wooden stool

in front of the counter,

not at all covertly, and climbs

to discover nothing but

herbal tea and adult vitamins.


Soon we’re all watching –

my wife and I, our son.

Even the cat’s like,

Why doesn’t she just meow

incessantly like I do?


We’re mesmerized,

still discreetly riveted

by her mission,

we feel her calamity,

like unrequited love,

like the Agony of Defeat

ski jumper from Wild World of Sports,

like when the Patriots lost

two Super Bowls to the Giants.


Then, when all is lost

and we avert our gazes,

we hear the crinkle, crinkle

of a wrapper and the loud,

triumphant chewing of gum.


Our clandestine cutie,

this sultan of


struck pay dirt,

and she performs

another little dance,

this time jumping and swaying

left to right, left to right,

like a cartoon prospector

with a long beard

and a pickaxe

who just found gold.


“Eliza,” her mommy calls out.

“Don’t you want to finish your dinner?”


“No,” Eliza says.


“I only have a sweet tooth.



And she shows us exactly which tooth is the sweet one.

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