by Marilyn Flower
My mama’s favorite was her son who died,
the boy I was born to replace.
She lay in her bedroom and shrieked at God:
“God! God! How could you take my son?”
Papa built a schul for his son who died
and prayed there every day.
He tucked my hair in a skull cap
so I could sit with him at schul
where the men intoned their morning prayer:
“Thank you, God, for not making me a woman.”
My father enrolled me in public school,
not the Jewish school like my boy cousins.
For the class picture the very first year,
teacher pinned up my hair with a bow.
I took that picture in my hands and smiled.
“I am a girl,” I said.
* * * * *
"Daughter" was first published in Down in the Dirt Magazine.