Reading: The Daughter by Carmen Giménez Smith

Carmen Giménez Smith (b. 1971) is a new York poet who teaches in New Mexico. I read a poem from her 2013 book ‘Milk and filth’:

The Daughter

We said she was a negative image of me because of her lightness.
She’s light and also passage, the glory in my cortex.
Daughter, where did you get all that goddess?
Her eyes are Neruda’s two dark pools at twilight.
Sometimes she’s a stranger in my home because I hadn’t imagined her.
Who will her daughter be?
She and I are the gradual ebb of my mother’s darkness.
I unfurl the ribbon of her life, and it’s a smooth long hallway, doors flung open.
Her surface is a deflection is why.
Harm on her, harm on us all.
Inside her, my grit and timbre, my reckless.
The first lines are mysterious, I like it. We are talking about generations of women, alternating dark and less dark and light. They all see themselves in each other, the women are distorting mirrors to each other who sometimes feel like strangers because they challenge the imagination.
Harm on her, harm on us all. There is a basic solidarity between the generations of women, because the fundamental attunement to the world (grit, timbre, reckless) survives in every new generation.

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