Poems & Essays

17 Apr

For My Daughter, Whose Armpits Itch

Toddlers to Teens No Response

You are not quite nine,
not quite finished with thumb sucking,
sneaking your favorite pink, stuffed “bear-rabbit”
into my purse before leaving for school, grabbing it out
the very second I pick you up, inhaling
its familiar scent, soothing yourself
with a good thumb sucking
after a hard day of third grade, oblivious
to your own body odor
of armpit and foot.

Oh daughter, my beautiful one,
of tangled hair, chapped lips and thumb,
how to help you, sweet changeling?
We buy deodorant, pink lip gloss, a purse
for you to carry a comb (and bear-rabbit);
You wonder why
your armpits itch, if you really do
have a unibrow (like your brother says).

We talk of moons and months,
of changes that must come;
your chest buds into breasts,
your legs sprout downy fur.

You are insecure, ashamed
to wear shorts, afraid
of being called Sasquatch
(like your brother pokes fun),

but oh dear one, my beautiful daughter
of tangled hair, chapped lips and thumb,
not a razor, not just yet,
let me cherish you, let
me keep you
little,

just a little
while more.

Jessica Isaacs, founder and co-editor of Dragon Poet Review, received the 2015 Oklahoma Book Award for Poetry for Deep August.  Her poems appear in Oklahoma TodayPoetry Bay, Cybersoleil Literary Journal, All Roads Lead Home Poetry Blog, Malpais Review, SugarMule’s Women Writing Nature, One Sentence Poems, Short Order Poems, My Life with a Funeral Director, Scissortail Commemorative CD, and Elegant
Rage.  
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