To my daughters, I need to say:

Go with the one who loves you biblically.
The one whose love lifts its head to you
despite its broken neck.
Whose body bursts sixteen arms electric
to carry you, gentle, the way
old grief is gentle.

Love the love that is messy
in all its too much,
The body that rides best your body,
whose mouth saddles the naked salt
of your far gone hips, whose tongue
translates the rock language of
all your elegant scars.

Go with the one who cries out
for his tragic sisters as he chops
the winter’s wood, the one whose skin
Triggers your heart into a heaven of blood waltzes.

Go with the one who resembles most your father.
Not the father you can point out on a map,
But the father who is here. Is your home.
Is the key to your front door.
Know that your first love will only
Be the first.

And the second and third and even
fourth will unprepare you for the most important:
The Blessed. The Beast. The Last love.
Which is, of course, the most terrifying kind.

Because which of us wants to go
with what can murder us? Can reveal to us
Our true heart’s end and
its thirty years spent in poverty?
Can mimic the sound of our birdthroated mothers,
replicate the warmth of our brothers’ tempers?
Can pull us out of ourselves until
We are no longer sisters or daughters
or sword swallowers but, instead,
Women. Who give. And lead. And take and want

And want.
And want.
And want.
Because there is no shame in wanting.
And you will hear yourself say:

Last Love, I wish to die so I may come back
to you new and never tasted by any other mouth but yours.
And I want to be the hands that pull your children
out of you and tuck them deep inside myself until they are
Ready to be the children of such a royal
and staggering love.

Or you will say:

Last Love, I am old, and have spent myself
on the courageless, have wasted too many clocks
on less-deserving men, so I hurl myself
At the throne of you and lie humbly at your feet.

Last Love, let me never roll out
of this heavy dream of you.
Let the day I was born mean
my life will end where you end.

Let the man behind the church do what he did
if it brings me to you.
Let the girls in the locker room corner me again
if it brings me to you.
Let the wrong beds find me
if it brings me to you.
Let this wild depression throw me beneath its hooves
if it brings me to you.
Let me pronounce my hoarded joy
if it brings me to you.
Let my father break me again and again
if it brings me to you.

Last love, I let other men borrow your children. Forgive me.
Last love, I vowed my heart to another. Forgive me.
Last Love, I have let my blind and anxious hands
wander into a room and come out empty. Forgive me.

Last Love, I have cursed the women you loved before me. Forgive me.
Last Love, I envy your mother’s body
where you resided first. Forgive me.
Last Love, I am all that is left. Forgive me.
Last Love, I did not see you coming. Forgive me.

Last Love, every day without you was
a life I crawled out of. Amen.
Last Love, you are my Last Love. Amen.
Last Love, I am all that is left. Amen.
I am all that is left.
Amen.

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