From the carpet floor of the living room,
I peer down the low-lit hall:
a ukelele and flaming lips song.
On my elbow, I seesaw,
waiting to hear that tiny voice
from the other end of the call.
Father sings to daughter
about the darkness of the world
and Yoshimi, the warrior
who has to be the strongest girl.
She must stand between
paper doll and machine,
to make a better world.
Little girl, you cannot know
all the dangers up ahead--
the mountain with the steepest climb
is your path to tread,
a Kracken under your boat at sea
is your ghost to slay in the end--
so don't look up and don't look down
and make Time a dear, old friend.
Set out when winds catch your sail,
let the land beneath you go.
Cast nets wide, take on the gale,
and when it gets bad, just row.
Row until you can't,
then look to shore
for the lighthouse that you know.
He's been waiting there on the sand;
he never let you go.
Set anchor there and stay a while.
You were fearful or forgot the smile
he saves for you.
But no matter how far you've gotten,
no matter the wrong or right you do,
a father's love is hard and sure--
an anchor to steady, a calm to settle
the storm that chases you.
And when you feel uncertain,
don’t make yourself a ghost.
He is imperfect, and may forget
you’re at the other end of the rope,
and the one that he needs most.
I'll tell you how I know:
if he ever lost his little girl
his heart could never be whole.
She is a part of who he has become,
even when it doesn’t show.
A tiny voice comes through the wire,
singing, chirping, silently mouthing,
like the changing glimmer of fire.
It's not yet quite what it will be
but it is hers and will inspire
with a lightness that comes steadily.
From the carpet floor, elbow-propped,
it could be any other day,
father and daughter making their way.
So I wrote this down just to say:
daughters are stronger than they know;
their hearts break quick in the undertow.
Without preamble or self-defeat,
when it’s your turn to make salt sweet,
the other end of the rope will show,
for a daughter’s love is nestled deep
in the strength she learns from you.
And nothing can strengthen that bond more
than what you’ve both been through.