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My Daughter at 14 Christmas Dance 1981

by
 Panic in your face, you write questions
to ask him.
When he arrives, you are serene, your fear unbetrayed.
How unlike me you are.
After the dance, I see your happiness; he holds your hand.
Though you barely speak, your body pulses messages I can read all too well.
He kisses you goodnight, his body moving toward yours, and yours responding.
I am frightened, guard my tongue for fear my mother will pop out of my mouth.
"He is not shy," I say.
You giggle, a little girl again, but you tell me he kissed you on the dance floor.
"Once?" I ask.
"No, a lot.
" We ride through rain-shining 1 a.
m.
streets.
I bite back words which long to be said, knowing I must not shatter your moment, fragile as a spun-glass bird, you, the moment, poised on the edge of flight, and I, on the ground, afraid.
Maria Mazziotti Gillan Copyright © 1995

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