By Pamela Waterbury
This morning we sit on your bed
You tell me of the princess,
the perfect princess who as you watched
I recall my dream of the princess of the
whose long flowing hair becomes snakes
winding about her body, tightly binding
I watch you paint your lips with mauve
wanting braces to straighten crooked
so patterned cheers flow smoothly
from a practiced cheerleader smile.
I want to warn you that the hair shielding
and veiling your face will grow more
opaque with time,
gauze tightening to bandages
wrapping about your head like an
ancient Egyptian queen's.
Then even a surgeon's knife can not
cut through invisible wires locking your
generations of strictures
silencing your voice to hisses
through barriers of shoulds and smiles.
Quickly I rifle
Through the photographs in hopes
this hiking trip to Yosemite with my
has been preserved.
My daughter who for years hid behind
bedroom door, eyes shuttered against me
and disappeared into secrets.
Seeing none are ruined,
I slowly spread them
across the kitchen table
like a display of precious stones.
Here, she stands in Warrior pose on a
In the background
the river rushes, ferns along its bank
leached of sound and color.
In the next, Sequoias
and Ponderosa pines shrink into
and in the final one she disappears into
the other tourists
as the spray and power of the falls fade
into mountain surfaces.
No pictures of us
lying on the banks of Merced River
across from Bridal Veil Falls,
its back splash growing,
changing directions in afternoon
No image of us
hiking around Mirror Lake,
water bottles empty as we, depleted
approach the ninth mile.
No photo captures
her arms wrapped tightly
around me beneath
the wild rush of the lower falls.