Two Poems by Daun Daemon
That First Poem
I remember — but lost to the decades since —
the first poem I wrote, in 1968, the poem
that made my daddy so proud, the poem
about how Richard Nixon would save us all
from air smog. I wrote that dear little poem,
with flowers and butterflies drawn alongside
and happy stick figures too, on light purple
lined paper, and I was so happy when daddy
smiled and nodded his head, though later on
I disappointed him when I became a Democrat,
which to him held no value at all, much like poetry.
After he died, when I could do things
that would have made him frown, when I
no longer cared what he thought even though
for decades I had been an adult, an adult
who still wanted to make her daddy smile,
I became a poet.
On Trying to Write a Prayer for Forgiving My Parents
Ancestors, I’m told, are
blameless, shouldn’t be
condemned for the harm we
do ourselves — our
estrangement from love, our
faithless souls that send
godliness packing, our inability to
heal our inherited wounds.
I’m told to pray, to begin my
journey toward self-redemption.
Karma tells me otherwise: my
lineage is damned, my
maternal and paternal genes
nested together, beget
ornate and tightly stitched
patterns of pieced troubles, a
quilted bedcover to lie under,
resplendent with generational
shame and sordid adornments.
Try as I might, I cannot
understand whatever scant
virtue comes from the absolving.
What do I forgive when
X ticks all the parental boxes?
You, God, shouldn’t ravage my
zen — this prayer is all about me.
Daun Daemon’s stories have appeared in Fiction Fix, The Dead Mule and Delmarva Review, among others. She has published poetry in Dime Show Review, Third Wednesday, Remington Review, Typehouse and other journals. Daemon lives in Raleigh, North Carolina, with her husband and four cats and teaches at North Carolina State University. Read her previous poems in Deep South here.