Blackbirdan online journal of literature and the artsSpring 2016  Vol. 15 No. 1
an online journal of literature and the arts
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back T.R. HUMMER

My Daughter’s Passport

It is a tiny book, a cross section of a Gideon Bible
or a pocket Kabbalah. It smells of amaryllis
And serotonin when I hold it to my nose and gnaw
in worship. Portals to other dimensions are crystalline,
Diamantine, they show distorted tableaus
of the nameless place, but you cannot pass.
Rat, you are forbidden. At fourteen, my daughter
is a study in the purity of sweet alienation,
Surrounded by concertina wire and fiery customs officials,
and what looks, through my fogged telescope,
Like an ectoplasmic minefield. She studies the face
of the armadillo, the profile of the hooded rat. I am
The rat. I was there in the beginning, when she crossed
the border from concealment into the realm
Of the unconcealed. I held her documents in my clawed paw.
I squealed until she saw me. She took what I offered,
She reached the gate, and was permitted. That is a life.
This book of her face holds a record of her journey
In a golden tetragrammaton illegible to rodents.
On the shelf of her psyche, the rabbit, the cow, the holy dog,
And the owl shake their heads in animal disgust
that a rat should have a passport. Friends, it was never mine.
If it were, like her, I would be human. If it were, like her,
I would hold my beauty close to my belly, I would weep
In dignified bliss, I would sail from one world to the next
rich with solitude and language, bearing over
My heart in its bone crate safe from the rat in steerage,
Brilliant pilgrim, beloved plaything, destroyer of worlds.  

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