The Daughter : The Reader

by Becca Jensen

The end is always the same—dragging home with cracked shoes, bloated, salty lips,
and three fresh bruises
on her right, inner arm. Home. Even now she hovers round

the taste of limes
and fish and tales of giants that burn her tongue. How she came to them
in a silver boat with scales of rainbow

about its sides. How they met her with a grace that is their proportion
but she ran for fear and hid
for fear beneath a fallen leaf, and when they found her, she spat in their faces and bit

their fingernails to the quick.
Yet they loved her anyway because she was small and precious and they called
her orphan, built

her a house out of chartreuse and sand. Then one of them—the one
no one liked—ate
her boat. After, how they came each hour with eyes bent from sorrow, begging

her forgiveness and what
could they do? So she asked about her parents and where could she find them
until the giants brought her

some stories. Her mother was the past and wore hair the color of mountaintops
and skin that runs like sunlight. Her father
was God and was made up of loss, which made him somewhat

forgetful, but mostly
he was kind. Then they built her another boat and kissed her in three places
on her right, inner arm.

previous home next