You are perfect, my daughter told me,
while I, guilty of so many sins—
of impatience, ignorance, intransigence;
of letting her eat cookies, candy, cake,
of forbidding her cookies, candy, cake;
of watching her too closely
and not watching her closely enough—
I denied her claim,
till, she, insistent, said,
you are perfect to me,
and maybe we will come to a day,
in two, or four, or six years' time,
when she yells at me
as she numbers my faults
with hideous accuracy,
a day when I am angry
not in the bounded fashion
of one telling a child
to stop crayoning the wall,
but in a fury that possesses me
from toe to scalp—
on that day
let me pause, take a breath, and remember
how I was once perfect to her,
how she is still perfect to me.

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