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Hannah and Me in San Francisco, 2007

Hannah and Me in San Francisco, 2007

In 2007, the year this photo was taken of my daughter Hannah and me, she asked me a simple question one day. So today, February 2, 2013, on her twenty-first birthday, I am sharing with you how I responded to her question that day:

In Answer to Your Question

You tossed your question deftly in the air
as we talked one evening:
“Will you write me a poem?”

I’ve been thinking about it, and
if I were to write you a poem,
it would be in the color of yellow, like sunshine
splashing playfully over a sea of ripe bananas.

I’d also plant a yellow rose in one of the lines
to symbolize the joy of seeing you blossom.

If I were to write a poem for you I would
put your favorite number 11 in it too — a number
with simple symmetry — like gothic columns
holding up a cathedral. In a happy coincidence,
your name is constructed in columns too …
a palindrome of strength and grace,
the cathedral in which you live.

Mind you, these are just my initial thoughts, but
if I were to write you a poem it would probably be
in the key of A major, because that’s a joyful key
celebrating the sweetness of life and
offering wisps of hope for each new day.

You ask, “Will you write me a poem?”
Yes, my daughter, my little girl,
let me see what I can do.

Love, Dad