For a Daughter Who Leaves

Janice Mirikitani

 

"More than gems in my comb box shaped by the

God of the Sea, I prize you, my daughter. . ."
Lady Otomo, 8th century, Japan

A woman weaves
her daughter's wedding
slippers that will carry
her steps into a new life.
The mother weeps alone
into her jeweled sewing box
slips red thread
around its spool,
the same she used to stitch
her daughter's first silk jacket
embroidered with turtles
that would bring luck, long life.
She remembers all the steps
taken by her daughter's
unbound quick feet:
dancing on the stones
of the yard among yellow
butterflies and white breasted sparrows.
And she grew, legs strong
body long, mind
independent.
Now she captures all eyes
with her hair combed smooth
and her hips gently
swaying like bamboo.
The woman
spins her thread
from the spool of her heart,
knotted to her daughter's
departing
wedding slippers.
 
Reprinted from Love Works by permission of City Lights Foundation. Copyright © 2002 by Janice Mirikitani. All rights reserved.

Further Reading

Poems About Daughters
A Little Tooth
by Thomas Lux
A Newborn Girl at Passover
by Nan Cohen
A Prayer for my Daughter
by W. B. Yeats
Achill
by Derek Mahon
Daughters in Poetry
by Eavan Boland
Daughters, 1900
by Marilyn Nelson
Heart's Needle
by W. D. Snodgrass
Home After Three Months Away
by Robert Lowell
Interstate Highway
by James Applewhite
Ladders
by Elizabeth Alexander
Morning Song
by Sylvia Plath
My Daughter All Yourn
by Farid Matuk
My Daughter Among the Names
by Farid Matuk
Poems about Daughters
Shoulda Been Jimi Savannah
by Patricia Smith
The Bistro Styx
by Rita Dove
The Pomegranate
by Eavan Boland
The Writer
by Richard Wilbur
Today A Rainstorm Caught Me
by Matt Hart
Waiting for Rain
by Ellen Bass