sprite writes
broodings from the burrow

April 8, 2018

‘when i have a daughter’
posted by soe 1:48 am

April is National Poetry Month, so I thought I’d share some of the poems I’m reading throughout the month. This week’s is from one of the books I’m currently reading, #NotYourPrincess: Voices of Native American Women, edited by Lisa Charleyboy and Mary Beth Leatherdale:

When I Have a Daughter
Ntawnis Piapot (Piapot Cree Nation)

When I have a daughter . . . I’ll tell her,
Don’t wait. Don’t whine. Don’t “pine.”
Go for it. Work for it. Earn it.
I’ll tell her stories of my younger years.
Spilt beers, unfounded fears.
I’ll hold her close as my mother did . . .
When her heart is broken, when her spirit is down.
When all the men have left and all the women have turned their backs.
And I’ll cry with her . . . knowing this won’t be the last time.
Knowing there’s more hurt in the world that I can’t protect her from.
I’ll hold her up when she succeeds and hold her more when she fails.
When I have a daughter . . . I’ll remind her of what happened.
Of why she never met her kokum. And what happened to our people.
I’ll tell her grand stories of her mushum . . . and how he made it rain.
How he fought and sacrificed and envisioned her in this moment . . .
I’ll dance with her in my arms late at night as a baby.
And imagine the beauty she’ll hold as a young woman.
When I have a daughter . . . I’ll tell her to never lower her standards.
That as women, our ambition and strong words scare weak-minded people.
That as much as you want to be an opinionated woman fighting for justice —
You’ll be shunned.
You’ll be ostracized.
You’ll be labeled an emotional rebel.
Troublemaker. Truth-teller.
And I hope I’ll instill enough courage for her to walk alone. And love wholeheartedly.
And laugh that Cree laugh and be proud of her features.
When I have a daughter . . . I’ll name her and hold her high.
And I’ll look at her as you looked at me.

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[…] paper, as I mentioned over the weekend, I’ve been reading #NotYourPrincess, a collection of poetry and short prose […]

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