This poem first appeared in Line of Advance (Volume 4) in May 2015.
Quid Pro Quo
We found out something was wrong with her blood.
The minnow in her belly
might be growing incorrectly.
I got this news over the phone.
I was away from home.
I started running
around the airport.
The sun was setting.
The desert heat rose from
where it was stored in the pavement.
Forty days in the desert on that trip.
I stopped next to the runway.
That was the one and only time
I have ever prayed.
If begging is praying.
I promised to teach my child
My daughter is the only Minnesotan in my family.
She is not afraid of the cold.
She can cross country ski faster than people twice her age.
She can paddle a canoe.
She caught a huge Northern in high style.
“Hold this,” she said as she handed me the rod
and ran to get the net.
She knows how to find the North Star.
She can tell a white pine from a red pine.
I taught her these things.
I look into her healthy blue eyes
and ask her:
What are the only two things
She points to her head and says:
What’s in here.
Then she points to her heart and says:
And what’s in here.
I will teach her more
if you need me to.
But I did my best
to hold up my end.
I wanted you to know
I didn’t forget.
— Eric Chandler