“The Little Marauder,“ oil on canvas, by William Adolphe Bouguereau, 1900.

by Chris Atkin

If I ever have a daughter I hope she knows
that even though her father’s bones
are made of mountains, in these hands
she will find nothing but softness;
Just palms like valley meadows
filled with nothing but flowers
every bit as wild as her soul.

I hope she knows she can grow unabashedly,
and that no matter what shape she takes
there will always be space for her
within her father’s arms.
I hope she knows that every mirror is magic,
that the face within is beautiful because it’s hers.

If I ever have a daughter
I hope she knows that it’s ok to have thorns,
or be the beanstalk, the bridge between
the world below a land of dreams and giants,
that sometimes magic looks like weeds
to those who lack the courage to climb,
But if she sets her roots deep
she will always grow back even if
they chop her down.

I hope she knows that every damsel is a dragon,
that sometimes roaring sounds like crying,
and crying sounds like roaring
that she should never be afraid
to feel so hard and loud she shakes the ground.
I hope that when they tell her that she’s dangerous
she’ll just smile with a mouth full of fangs
and say I know, that she’s her father’s daughter
that she was born to burn.

Chris Atkin is a high school English teacher, Pushcart Prize nominated poet, and spoken word artist from Orem, UT. He has a B.A. in Education from Utah Valley University.