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.