Prayer for My Children

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Prayer for My Children

by Kate Daniels
Southern Cultures, Vol. 20, No. 1: The Help

" . . . No, I regret nothing because what I've lived has led me here, to this room with its marvelous riches . . . "

I regret nothing.
My cruelties, my betrayals
of others I once thought
I loved. All the unlived
years, the unwritten
poems, the wasted nights
spent weeping and drinking.

No, I regret nothing
because what I’ve lived
has led me here, to this room
with its marvelous riches,
its simple wealththese three heads shining
beneath the Japanese lamp, laboring
over crayons and paper.
These three who love me
exactly as I am, precisely
at the center of my ill-built being.
Who rear up eagerly when I enter,
and fall down weeping when I leave.
Whose eyes are my eyes.
Hair, my hair.
Whose bodies I cover
with kisses and blankets.
Whose first meal was my own body.
Whose last, please God, I will not live
to serve, or share.

Editor’s Note: This poem was originally published in Four Testimonies (LSU Press, 1998) and is reprinted here by permission of the author.