ON HAVING A DAUGHTER
by JACOB RIYEFF
 

Beneath an afternoon sun 

I paddle my daughter out, 

out past the breakers. 

She smiles, her hair falling 

across her cheek askance, 

the jeweled waves glinting  

in her eyes. And this is where  

I would keep her—out  

beyond the turmoil near shore. 

But, bobbing with her in the sea-surge, 

I know she won’t stay here. 

She will stumble in the backwash, 

circled by flotsam, mangled  

fish carcasses, driftwood 

stumps too large for play. 

 

Beneath an afternoon sun 

I paddle my daughter out, 

out past the breakers, 

and we find a moment’s liquid  

pleasure, cheating time  

for her smile. And I would have her 

stay here, out past the breakers. 

 

But we have to be getting ashore.  

AUTHOR BIO:

Jacob Riyeff is a translator, teacher, and poet. His work focuses on the western contemplative tradition and the natural world. Jacob lives in Milwaukee's East Village.