W. D. Ehrhart  

Small Song for Daddy

    It isn't like my daughter
to awake at one a.m.—
but here she is.

She pulls the hairs on my chest
idly, wiggles her toes, sighs
almost as if in meditation,
and begins to sing softly,

the language hers alone,
the voice clear and fragile
as water striking stone.

New in a world where new
is all she knows, she sings
for each new wonder
she discovers—as if those

curtains, the chair, that
box of Kleenex were created
solely to delight her.

And they do. And she sings,
not knowing she is singing
for a father much in need
of her particular song.
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    Copyright © 1990 by W. D. Ehrhart
Just for Laughs, Viet Nam Generation & Burning Cities Press, 1990
This poem currently appears in Thank You For Your Service: Collected Poems, McFarland & Company, 2019

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