My Father

Part I

Daddy, the umbrellas have begun to unravel
I am fucking an older man his name is Time and
his moustache tastes like wire

The storms are purple electric in New York tonight
Seventh Avenue is brimming with leather
the girls in their boots and eyelashes

My wedding gown is made of water, Daddy
I dress and undress and it still does not cover me
There is skin murmuring beneath it:
yours, mine, Mama’s– Time’s touch is a mumbled pause

Only the rain can hear(our skin
is similar in the way it absorbs sound)

Through the mirror this dress becomes the
bone of a mutual beginning, sliding off my hips
I don’t want to be married

In my dreams, these storms are swaddled in cloth
and you are dripping with silver

Part II
The lady Madonna pours me coffee.
Four dollars for a cappuccino:
9th street prices.
I take it like my father did,
milk and three sugars.
She watches me softly, tracing my movements.

Again it is just-
Spring, an ungodly season declared by e e cummings
whose poems I never read
until I spent a few hours
at the Strand, smelling books,
meeting words and shaking their hands.
That’s another thing I learned
from my father.
He learned it from his father:
the way words watch over us.

This spring, this reawakening
is not stirring me.
The sheets
and the blankets of every block
in New York are engulfing me.
I don’t stop moving
because the city numbs
me, it lets me rest my mind.

New York is a supple, elegant city,
like the curve of an orange rind.
The girls have long legs
and leather eyelashes.
Even the rain watches them.
I rest in the city’s crevices, not thinking.

Sixth Avenue unravels me every time.
It is wintry, always sun.
My father’s features are mine,
though I don’t want them.
I catch the skin around my eyes
wrinkling into his lines
when I laugh.

There are small things I remember:
the straps of his sandals, slapping
on the same pavement which
I walk on now.
I try to be delicate, like the curve of
an orange rind.

The architecture of
New York is the same shape
as my mind. I am beautiful,
tender, fatherless.
It is just-Spring and I am ordering
a cappuccino on 9th street.
The lady Madonna watches me softly.

Diana Mellow
Age 14, Grade 10,
Fiorello H Laguardia High School of Music
Gold Key Gold Medal

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