I Am Your Dutiful Daughter


I am your dutiful daughter

These words are carved on my flesh


I will wash crusted sleepers

From your eyes

Clip the whiskers 

On your chin

Cool your skin

With rose water

In summer’s heat


I will enter

The dark swamp

Of your unwashed dreams

Pull your neck

Shoulders torso toes

From the muck


I will preserve

Your quiet

Like peaches preserved

Glistening in a jar

And smooth

Out the wrinkles of

Knowing and unknowing

At your behest


And as your eyes

Glaze into forgetfulness

I will settle next

To your bones

Your breath

Your empty breasts

As your secrets

Spill from my dreams







I Am Your Dutiful Daughter


Bess’s Lament


Madison, Wisconsin, May 1970 (After Kent State)