when you are big
I will let you trace the stripes on my hips where my nature was too ready for my nurture
where my own flesh tried to burst from itself in protest or in praise
where I left testament to the child I was and wrote letters to the woman I am now;
I will translate for you, a Rosetta to the stoniness you will face, daughter of mine.

when you are big
or big enough at least
I will stop trying to protect you from what you will become
and we will double our efforts to learn together:
I will remind you constantly that the lessons are endless
but so is the peace in their knowing.

when you are big
I will show you where my aching sat
heavier than any of my beauty standard crimes
I will show you the cage I built as protection and penance
and the flowers that grew and the vines that spread
when I turned back towards the sunlight of my own love.

when you are big
I will cry when I tell you I thought every moment
about saving you this havoc and this hell
about begging the genes of your thin and beautiful mother
and about knowing even then and all along that I would one day be brave enough
that I too would one day be big enough big enough
to bring you here and hold you fast for the goodness in the grit –

when you are big I will help you to love you, I swear,
because it’s not as easy as it looks
and your hands, so much like my own, will often feel so small.

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