Give and Take

My daughter is seven

And I’m responsible.

I respond when she asks

For another bowl of pasta,

When she calls from the tub

That she needs a towel.

When she stands beside my bed

In the night, a little ghost

In a nightgown covered in flowers,

Telling me she is sick, so sick

Mommy, but I didn’t miss.

I lead her back to bed,

And my hand on her cheek

Is enough. I’m responsible

The way a grown-up is, familiar

With the real world we talk about

Like it’s another country,

One with cities and a winter market,

A brass band that plays in a snowy gazebo.

We’re responsible, we know we are

No matter what song the band plays,

What distraction has caught us up,

We’re responsible for seven year olds,

The age of confirmation, of becoming

Real. Give me a child until she is seven,

And I will show you.

Daisy Bassen is a practicing physician and poet. She graduated from Princeton University’s Creative Writing Program and completed her medical training at The University of Rochester and Brown. Her work has been published in Oberon, The Delmarva Review, The Sow’s Ear, and Tuck Magazine as well as multiple other journals. She was a semi-finalist in the 2016 Vassar Miller Prize in Poetry, a finalist in the 2018 Adelaide Literary Prize, a recent winner of the So to Speak 2019 Poetry Contest and was doubly nominated for a 2019 Pushcart Prize. She lives in Rhode Island with her family.