How to Destroy an Ideal
Dancing with my daughter I released her hands
at just the wrong time.
She stumbled. Then fell. It was horrible to see.
My daughter, pain in her eyes, looked at me
as though I were a stranger. I thought my daughter—
always before in love with me—might ignore
what I had done. But she picked herself up
and her thin plaintive face
asked Dad, why did you do that?
I didn’t answer so she pointed across the room.
Would you like me more if I were that other girl?
All smiling and pretty and happy?
I could no longer meet her gaze. I stared into
her hair, wanting to say O, my dear growing
charge, my one-daughter jury. Please.
About the author:
Nazifa Islam grew up in Novi, Michigan. Her poetry and paintings have appeared in Anomalous Press, splinterswerve, The Fat City Review, and Gold Man Review among others, and her debut poetry collection Searching for a Pulse (2013) was released by Whitepoint Press. She earned her MFA in poetry at Oregon State University and can be found on Twitter at @nafoopal.