For Fathers of Girls
for Susanne When sperm leaves us and we cockadoodledo and our wives rise like morning the children we start are insignificant as bullets that get lodged, say, in a field somewhere in the midwest. If we are thinking then it is probably of sleep or the potency of rest, or the one—hand catch we made long ago at the peak of our lives. Later, though, in a dream we may imagine something in the womb of our heads, neither boy nor girl, nothing quite so simple. But when we wake, our wives are breathing like the wounded on the whitest street in the world. We are there we are wearing conspicuous masks for the first time, our eyes show the sweat from our palms. Suddenly we are fathers of girls: purply, covered with slime we could kiss. There's a cry, and the burden of living up to ourselves is upon us again. Stephen Dunn