by Jean Voneman Mikhail
You bring your daughter to campus
on your shoulders or in a backpack.
She longs for travel, her eyes
the color of amber from the Baltics
or from the Oak’s dead rustle of browns
that come alive at sunset, almost scarlet.
You haven’t decided if she can come yet.
She makes you a little angry.
She wants both up and down–riding,
belching the wind as she goes
scuttling over the sidewalk, nearly
tipping you with her tantrums
the hard apple of her hand
turning to mush on your neck.
The soft reflective bubble of her mouth, pouting.
She scurries over your shoulder
like a dragonfly, her iridescense–
when she turns this way
her eyes are green,
swooping green darners
seaming up a snake,
cottonmouth in the grass
that warm November
with the yellow jackets sipping
hard cider under the trees
where you were
with the love of your life.
You love your wife but don’t love her. You know what I mean.
Your daughter pleads with you
to take her to water
to the Lake or the Bay.
It doesn’t matter.
The light this way makes her blue, the sapphire
in candlelight we sometimes see.
You say, get down, your weight crushes my soul.
Can you believe you used those words?
She is carried to you on a swarm
through the door like Cinderella.
Now, she is suddenly queen of the seafoam.
Her voice becomes thick with spirits
on the lips of the waves she says between sips
Unclasp the necklace
you made me, the charm of arms
around your neck.
Jean Voneman Mikhail lives in Athens, Ohio and is a graduate of OU with a MA in Creative writing. Her work has appeared in Westminster Review, Riverwind and Canary Journal. She takes part in public readings such as “Women On the Line” and “Women of Appalachia.” She tries to write every day.