I grew up hearing stories of ungrateful daughters:
confused girls who loved women,
who lied about their fathers
and uncles with wandering hands,
girls with bitter dispositions who stayed away
to wound their mother's hearts.
They were never grown, these daughters,
never strong, never right.
They were wayward, they were lost,
they were not one of us.
I knew I was lucky, yes? I was loved?
Wouldn't I be grateful when I was 30, 40, and 50
to have my people with me?
I imagined these ungrateful daughters
deliberate and set apart,
not jostled along by ceremony,
and I longed for that spare solitude,
their muscular constitutions.
I would spot them outside.
I followed them through malls and down streets,
I found them in books and magazines,
always with more teeth,
thrust chins, defiant hair.
I imagined they would know
our hearts beat alike,
we would nod a knowing,
and no gods or men could insist
we owed them gratitude
for accidents of sex and blood.
I listened to stories of ungrateful daughters
and savoured that swan song of childhood,
one I gladly freed in my receding wake,
on the horizon of our chosen outlands.