Tying Knots

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Non-Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
For my daughter.
This poem appears in my book, The Beauty of Dragons.

Submitted: September 30, 2018

A A A | A A A

Submitted: September 12, 2018



Tying Knots

I need to get better at tying knots

not in wet sneaker laces, caked in dirt and grime and childhood sludge

with the stamped approval of dusty asphalt woven into frayed brown cotton strings

pulled through playground puddles, pockets of precipitous presents placed overnight

no, I learned those


but I do need to brush up on my knots

not the ones which left scars on the sides of my eyes, and brow, and one just above my chin

from countless collisions, faultless impact, in fact don't reach for this crossover

or rebound with reckless elbows, or love without intention

I've learned to position myself in the athletic stance:

feet set at shoulder width

knees bent in a slight crouch

a tilt at the waist, weight forward

heels up in anticipation, wait for it

hands open and ready

I've bumped my head enough to know that leaning in always leaves scars

no, I earned those


still, I need to improve at tying off bows

but not on the tops of christmas gifts, wrapped and crafted to extend the suspense

of finding some shiny new thing behind festive prints, like a princess tiara

for a little girl

hidden, adorned in silken ribbbon, twisted and curled, pulled and set like

kinky locks, already a crown for my young and blooming queen

no, I can do those


I need to get better at the type of knots you tie when you've lost a limb in battle

perhaps a leg, stepping on landmines time and again because they are so well hidden

disguised to blend in with smiles and hugs and "luv you too's"

but the spontaneous loss of a body part you thought would always be with you

is a terror I would not wish on any ex

ghastly absence is nothing compared to the ghostly presence left behind

occasional reminder of a piece of you that once was


I need to get better at tying these knots

because one day, after she learns to twist and loop, over around and through

secure the strings on top of her shoe


after she learns that falling down is okay, that bumps and bruises go away

with time and a kiss


after she understands that daddy will give her the world just as soon as he

conquers this mic


I need to get better at tying knots because

my daughter

will have her heart broken for the first time

and come to me, a tilted well of tears spilled

and when she asks me how I healed

I can't afford to say


I'm not

© Copyright 2019 Eric DeVaughnn. All rights reserved.

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