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Recorded for Poem-a-Day, August 4, 2017.
About this Poem 

“‘Things I Will Tell My Children About Destiny’ is a poem about fanciful and practical wishes for children not yet born. We all want them to be happy and whole, but we also want them to be safe and alive—to walk in the world aware of danger. But in the quest for safety, let’s not lose ourselves and forget the joy of life either.
—Cynthia Manick

Things I Will Tell My Children About Destiny

                        You remind them
             of weighted tumbleweeds,
hen-egg brown. Don’t let
                        them take the rag-
             time beneath your skin.
        It stirs earth’s curvature
and a choir
of frogs 
when you enter
             or leave a room. Don’t
             leave a swallow of juice
                  or milk in the fridge.
A body grieved
is a whole new body.
             Give your shadow a name
                        big as a star, see
             yourself out loud.
Pick wild irises                         the best gifts
             roll under a ribcage, leave 
             open mouths splendid.

I like your smile unpenned.

Keep your bird-
             song close, imagine
                     an hourglass full
                         of architects and dreamers,
the first taste of fresh
             scooped ice cream.
                         You will learn to master
                         camouflage among ordinary things— 
             men who spill words
not thoughts, trigger fingers
                         ready
                         to brand loose.

I love your smile unpenned.
 

Copyright © 2017 by Cynthia Manick. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on August 4, 2017, by the Academy of American Poets.

Copyright © 2017 by Cynthia Manick. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on August 4, 2017, by the Academy of American Poets.

Cynthia Manick

Cynthia Manick

Cynthia Manick is the author of Blue Hallelujahs (Black Lawrence Press, 2016). 

by this poet

poem

I tell my father about the way
I collect small things
in the sacs of my heart—

thick juniper berries
apple cores that retain their shape
and the click of shells
that sound like an oven baking.

He presses the mole on my shoulder
that matches his shoulder,
proof that I

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