This week’s Monday poem is called If I Should Have A Daughter by Sarah Kay. Known for her spoken word poetry, Sarah is the founder and co-director of Project V.O.I.C.E., a group dedicated to using spoken word as an educational and inspirational tool. Watch her perform If I Should Have A Daughter here.

If I should have a daughter,
instead of Mom,
she’s gonna call me Point B,
because that way she knows that no matter what happens,
at least she can always find her way to me.

And I am going to paint solar systems on the backs of her hands
so she has to learn the entire universe
before she can say ‘Oh, I know that like the back of my hand.’

And she’s going to learn
that this life will hit you hard in the face,
wait for you to get back up, just so it can kick you in the stomach.
But getting the wind knocked out of you
is the only way to remind your lungs
how much they like the taste of air.

There’s hurt, here,
that cannot be fixed by Band-Aids or poetry.
So the first time she realizes
that Wonder Woman isn’t coming,
I’ll make sure she knows
she doesn’t have to wear the cape all by herself
because no matter how wide you stretch your fingers,
your hands will always be too small
to catch all the pain you want to heal.
Believe me, I’ve tried.

And baby, I’ll tell her, don’t keep your nose up in the air like that.
I know that trick; I’ve done it a million times.
You’re just smelling for smoke so you can follow the trail back to a burning house,
so you can find the boy who lost everything in the fire
to see if you can save him.
Or else find the boy who lit the fire in the first place,
to see if you can change him.

But I know she will anyway, so instead, I’ll always keep an extra supply
of chocolate and rain boots nearby,
because there is no heartbreak that chocolate can’t fix.
Okay, there’s a few heartbreaks that chocolate can’t fix.
But that’s what the rainboots are for,
because rain will wash away everything, if you let it.

I want her to look at the world
through the underside of a glass-bottomed boat,
to look through a microscope
at the galaxies that exist
on the pinpoint of a human mind,
because that’s the way my mom taught me.

That there’ll be days like this
“There’ll be days like this,” my mama said.
When you open your hands to catch
and wind up with only blisters and bruises;
when you step out of the phone booth and try to fly
and the very people you want to save
are the ones standing on your cape;
when your boots will fill with rain,
and you’ll be up to your knees in disappointment.

And those are the very days you’ve all the more reason to say thank you.
Because there’s nothing more beautiful
than the way the ocean refuses to stop kissing the shoreline,
no matter how many times it is sent away.

You will put the wind in win some, lose some.
You will put the star
in starting over, and over.
And no matter how many landmines erupt in a minute,
be sure your mind lands
on the beauty of this funny place called life.

And yes, on a scale from one to overtrusting,
I’m pretty damn naive.
But I want her to know that this world is made out of sugar.
It can crumble so easily,
but don’t be afraid to stick your tongue out and taste it.

Baby, I’ll tell her, remember your mama is a worrier
and your papa is a warrior,
and you’re the girl with small hands and big eyes
who never stops asking for more.

Remember that good things come in threes
and so do bad things.
And always apologize when you’ve done something wrong,
but don’t you ever apologize
for the way your eyes refuse to stop shining.

Your voice is small but don’t ever stop singing.
And when they finally hand you a heartache,
when they slip war and hatred under your door
and offer you handouts on street corners
of cynicism and defeat,
you tell them that they really ought to meet your mother.


One thought on “Monday Poems: Sarah Kay

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