Letter to My Unborn Daughter 

Dear love of mine,

it has come to my attention
that you’re stealing
the beginnings
of your Mama’s poem,
so let me start by saying this:
You’ll be all
and nothing like her.

Your eyes
will never be baptized
into the pains that she has felt,
when her pupils
dilated to discover her worth
need not be assessed by men
who only want to perform price checks
but are never committed to buy.

I will deluge you with a love
that appreciates your value daily,
so much so
that you will never be bought.
Every man will always be
an honest compliment shy,
a touch of love too short,
an insufficient fund away
to get you to stay.

My dear,
I have no intentions
of giving your hand away,
but I’ve already composed this score
for the occasion.
I pray,
the day that it comes
I will be less of the man I am today
and more of the man
you’ll need me to be.
Lord knows,
I’ve never been in a fight
a day in my life
but I will go to war for you.
I will battle your demons.
I will vanquish your foes.
I will dismantle every man
that desires to treat you as some –
word that I shouldn’t say.

May he respect you
long after he has earned your love.
May he love you
long after he has earned your trust.
May he trust you
as if he’s learned that he must
because
hearts don’t break around here.
My darling,
you won’t break when I’m near.

So call me.
Call me when you need me,
call me when you don’t.
Call me when he forgets your birthday,
you’ll already know that I won’t;
just
call me.

Even though we’ve yet to meet,
at this point in my life
I’ve already loved you more
than any woman I’ve ever met.
I have vowed
to resurrect the best of myself
to give over to you
so you’ll always have faith
in love.

All I’ll need you to do
is breathe easy.
Remember,
that sometimes love will feel
like you’ve been shortchanged;
a part of you
will want to curl into a fist,
you’ll wish
that you’ve never met men.
I’ll wish
that they’ve never met you.

You,
with the dimpled smile
you borrowed from your mother.
You,
my unborn princess
I vow to love like no other.
You,
will always be my sunshine,
my only sunshine.

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Road Trip

He held her, 
like the shuddering soup
in a ceramic bowl
gone cold
on a road trip with potholes;
hands trembling 
with mistakes, 
steady 
with his effort
to hold her together. 

Things 
were bound
to get messy. 
She
was bound to escape,
but he’d love her just the same
only she needed not
a love that played safe.

He held her,  
like the moment
you jump off plane
and dive into sky. 
He was clutching for her life
as much as he thought
she was for his but, 
she fell in love with
free falling into herself, 
when nothing about his actions 
ever made her feel
more grounded. 

His words
were parachute, 
his hands
confounded, 
his touch
felt like calculus, 
rigid
and rugged. 
Tender 
is the lesson you learn
when you kamikaze your heart
to spark another’s 
into flames. 

But love felt
rehearsed here.  
He said
all the right things
at all the wrong times;
but could never
nurse her hurt here. 
He spoke
often to her mind, 
when she craved a whisper
to her heart. 

So if you’re going to love her, 
love her bold. 
If you’re going to heal her, 
heal her whole. 
Give her something 
to hold on to. 
Give her something 
to believe 
that there’s more spine 
behind the letters you construct, 
than the bones
you align in your closet. 

She’s aching to trust in a future
that doesn’t resemble
familiar road trips
that left her stranded beside herself,
hitchhiking her way
back through the potholes 
she spilled herself into.
At least she knows
where to find herself,
do you?

Break Even

I needed you
to break me Irish Spring
bar soap clean.
Needed you to break me
like cellphone screen shatters
the day after warranty
and no insurance
to play safety net with.
Needed you to break me
in higher definition,
play me back
at thirty frames a second
so the fractures in my smile
can be seen
with more meaning. 

Then,
let the shards
fall where they may,
but if I have any say,
let them fall
where I’ve known love the strongest,
known love the deepest.
Embed me
back into the walls
of your veins
to pulse back into your heart.
Inscribe me
into one of your valves
so I can feel
the current of your love again.
Chamber me
into one of your ventricles
and I will pump
more than a heroic effort
to keep us alive. 

Just,
don’t let me feel
like I’m paddling ashore
with one oar;
circling for reasons
why you’d leave
without a ripple of an excuse
to wave by me.
I always thought
we had more depth than that,
more weight
than our mass. 

But if that’s not the case
break me deep,
break me even.
I’ll add the odds of myself
into a sum short of you
to keep me whole.