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Daddy’s time.
I rock her in the darkness
Two years old today,
My springy little girl
With hair like a headful
Of black springs
Coiled soft against my cheek
As we rock in the
Rocking chair.
I pray into her hair,
To the God who grows
Gardens in the hearts
Of men and children.   

We are teaching her
Obedience, which comes first.
A rough concrete slab
Upon which you can build
Sturdy and spacious floors
Of wisdom and meekness,
Honesty and integrity.

Obedience comes first.

And she is like a warm seed
Against me, curled up,
And I pray for God to give her
A heart of obedience, rocking
Her in the darkness, and she

Begins a list, she loves to
List things at this age, so she says
We obey! We obey our parents
And mommeee and dadeee
And Zai-Zai, and mommeee
And daddeee and nanaaa and
Papaaa …

She lists off grownups at random
And I see her innocence. All she knows
Is to obey grownups, she does not know
That there are wicked and vile men
In this world. Men who would steal
Her innocence if they could.

And in that moment,
Something primal and protective
Rises up in me, like a white hot rage,
Like opening a furnace door,
I don’t know to what lengths
I would go to protect this innocence,
I can’t see that far, only that it is
Further than I can see, and the way
Is obscured by smoke and heat,
A feral place inside myself I hope
I never have to go. And I acknowledge
This is father-fire. God’s instinct,
God’s furnace, wrought in me the day
You were born. I am not a ferocious man.
But for you I could be a lion to keep you safe.
I could become unrecognizable.

And I answer her list
With a list of my own: 
With a heat of conviction she
Couldn’t possibly understand:

“Daddy will take care of you.“
“Daddy will protect you.“
“Daddy will love you.“

And in response
She asks me this:

I kid you not.
She says, and I quote:

Can we go at
Chik Filas


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