Jesse Parent. To the Boys Who May One Day Date My Daughter
To the boys who may one day date my daughter:
I have been waiting for you.
Since before her birth,
Since before my spark took hold and
Ignited the fire in her mother’s belly,
I have been training to kill you.
When you took your first steps,
I was preparing to make it so you never walked again.
When you played at war I was perfecting my headshots.
You can’t catch up at this point.
And when you first meet my daughter
And fall in love with the look she sends over her shoulder,
Her crescent moon eyes framing her laughing smile,
You are going to want to talk to her.
And when those hours pass by like sprinters during that first
Timeless conversation you will also know,
With a deep and impending sense of dread,
That you are going to have to talk to me.
When you first come to my home and see
The bone carving over my threshold,
Try not to imagine your own femurs so expertly carved.
Pay no attention to my ample crawlspace,
My room with the rubber mat and drain.
Be careful only to approach me with love for my daughter.
See, I have been seeding her childhood with tap root hugs to
Weed out indifference and apathy.
There will be no daddy issues for your
Teenaged talons to latch upon.
If you break her heart,
I will hear it snap with the ear I pressed
Against her mother’s belly.
The elbow I cradled her head in will send a message to my fist.
My cheeks are attuned to her lips,
I will know if they tremble.
I have taught her that a man should never hit a woman.
Now, her mother would add that you really shouldn’t
Ever hit anybody, but I have taught her that a man should
NEVER HIT A WOMAN!
Consider my genes a mark of Cain,
You will suffer seven times whatever you do to her.
And she will not keep your secret,
You can’t make fire feel afraid.
I have been teaching her love all of her life,
And all that I ask is that you continue the lesson.
Love her, befriend her, protect her.
Be there when I can’t.
And when my body gives up to the grave let the grin that
Eternity carves into my face be a reflection of the peace that
Your love brings to her,
And we should get along just fine.
To the girls who may one day date my daughter:
My wife is a better shot than I am.