A Kiss in Dreams

for Victoria

by Rebecca Lu Kiernan


I watch you sleep for the last time.You were to be my
stepdaughter, laughing angel, fragile pixie. I have been 
planning my getaway for months, feeding and dressing
You, trying to detach myself. Forgive me someday for
Not warning you, helping you let me go. I fear you will
Forget me in your slight six years. Your father will surely
Never tell you how I cherished bathing you, the way you
Relaxed your head in my hands when we dipped back in 
The tub to rinse your hair. Thank you for painting my red
Car in the cobblestone driveway of your seafoam green
House, for curling in my lap when I read to you, for every
magical time you rested your head on my shoulder and
Smiled up at me, or put your tiny hand in mine, or brought
Me the brush and barrettes for your gold-brown hair. I kiss
Your forehead mostly for myself, guessing this kiss in
Dreams may translate to a peck on the head by a giraffe.
When I think I have successfully forgotten you, there you
Will be in the smell of honeysuckle at a coral cove, in the
Gossamer pink wings of a dragonfly, in the warm sand
Becoming a crocodile in my cupped hands, in the silver
Starlings dancing in the lilac after rain.
And for the record, I would have been a terrible stepmother
For I could have never brought myself to prepare you for
Becoming a woman. I could have never told your wide gray
Eyes, under every tiger lily there is a scorpion, beneath every
Kiss, a welcome razor for the wrist.

©2001 by Rebecca Lu Kiernan

Rebecca Lu Kiernan is the editor of the print journal, Gecko. She has published in Ms. Magazine and has work upcoming in Asimov's Science Fiction. Her collection of poetry, Sex With Trees And Other Things Equally Responsive was recently published by 2River Press. She coaches gifted writers and does literary criticism for the general public. Contact her for dates and fees.

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