Maggie Sawkins

My Daughter’s Habit

A month’s respite doesn’t stop the heart
tilting in its cradle at the knock,


the scene replayed before I open the door.
I know from her expression what it is she wants,


but still she asks, and I fetch,
like a dog, hand over the score,


notice once more the half-moon scar
on the bone of her cheek.


The night swallows her shadow,
catches my sigh as she walks away.


I lean awhile against the door,
listen as the wind worries the trees,


smother the thought: to press
a pillow against my slipping heart.

Maggie Sawkins
“My Daughter’s Habit” first appeared in Magma Poetry, vol. 36, Winter 2006.