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Never grow a wishbone, daughter, where your backbone ought to be.

For My Daughter

“Never grow a wishbone, daughter, where your backbone ought to be.” –Clementine Paddleford

Never play the princess when you can
be the queen:
rule the kingdom, swing a scepter,
wear a crown of gold.
Don’t dance in glass slippers,
crystal carving up your toes—
be a barefoot Amazon instead,
for those shoes will surely shatter on your feet.

Never wear only pink
when you can strut in crimson red,
sweat in heather grey, and
shimmer in sky blue,
claim the golden sun upon your hair.
Colors are for everyone,
boys and girls, men and women—
be a verdant garden, the landscape of Versailles,
not a pale primrose blindly pushed aside.

Chase green dragons and one-eyed zombies,
fierce and fiery toothy monsters,
not merely lazy butterflies,
sweet and slow on summer days.
For you can tame the most brutish beasts
with your wily wits and charm,
and lizard scales feel just as smooth
as gossamer insect wings.

Tramp muddy through the house in
a purple tutu and cowboy boots.
Have a tea party in your overalls.
Build a fort of birch branches,
a zoo of Legos, a rocketship of
Queen Anne chairs and coverlets,
first stop on the moon.

Dream of dinosaurs and baby dolls,
bold brontosaurus and bookish Belle,
not Barbie on the runway or
Disney damsels in distress—
you are much too strong to play
the simpering waif.

Don a baseball cap, dance with Daddy,
paint your toenails, climb a cottonwood.
Learn to speak with both your mind and heart.
For the ground beneath will hold you, dear—
know that you are free.
And never grow a wishbone, daughter,
where your backbone ought to be.

P.S. Your mama still lets you play with Barbies & Disney Princesses—but only cause you sweet things never act like the silly damsel in distress.

24 Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Robert on Thursday, January 29, 2015 at 6:47 pm

    .

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  2. marion on Thursday, January 29, 2015 at 9:03 pm

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    hello!!…

  3. shannon on Friday, January 30, 2015 at 5:35 am

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    áëàãîäàðñòâóþ!…

  4. Carlos on Friday, January 30, 2015 at 6:08 am

    .

    ñïñ!!…

  5. Matt on Sunday, February 1, 2015 at 6:05 am

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  6. Chris on Sunday, February 1, 2015 at 6:39 am

    .

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  7. raul on Wednesday, February 4, 2015 at 5:34 pm

    .

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  8. Jonathan on Thursday, February 5, 2015 at 2:44 am

    .

    hello….

  9. ronnie on Thursday, February 5, 2015 at 7:43 am

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  10. Ben on Friday, February 6, 2015 at 2:59 pm

    .

    ñïñ!…

  11. tyler on Friday, February 6, 2015 at 3:31 pm

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    ñïàñèáî!…

  12. Donald on Friday, February 6, 2015 at 4:03 pm

    .

    ñïñ!…

  13. ross on Saturday, February 7, 2015 at 2:07 pm

    .

    ñïñ çà èíôó!!…

  14. Robert on Sunday, February 8, 2015 at 8:12 am

    .

    áëàãîäàðñòâóþ….

  15. Trevor on Sunday, February 8, 2015 at 10:30 pm

    .

    tnx!…

  16. raul on Wednesday, February 11, 2015 at 7:36 pm

    .

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  17. clyde on Thursday, February 12, 2015 at 7:58 pm

    .

    ñïñ!…

  18. danny on Thursday, February 12, 2015 at 9:16 pm

    .

    good!…

  19. Allan on Thursday, February 12, 2015 at 9:56 pm

    .

    hello!!…

  20. Carlos on Thursday, February 12, 2015 at 10:35 pm

    .

    good info!!…

  21. Derrick on Thursday, February 12, 2015 at 11:15 pm

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    tnx for info!…

  22. wesley on Thursday, February 12, 2015 at 11:54 pm

    .

    ñýíêñ çà èíôó!…

  23. lynn on Friday, February 13, 2015 at 9:55 pm

    .

    áëàãîäàðþ….

  24. eddie on Saturday, February 14, 2015 at 12:23 pm

    .

    ñýíêñ çà èíôó….

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