Dreaming of My Daughters

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Contributor: Shirley Russak Wachtel

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I dreamed of my daughters
Long-legged sitting at the table
Pushing back strands of their yellow hair
Which fall softly into their eyes blue like my mother’s
I could hear their words in the silence as they read
The only sound in the room
The sweep of a page
Hands of the clock moving the minute the hour
And I knew my daughters
Their golden laughter in the dusk
Their fingers tender on my heart.
I knew them in their silences
The curve of the narrow lips, so much like my own
Their bold unspoken passions as they bounded in the door
Drenched in joy and sweat
They crunched cornflakes in the morning and
Apples in the evening and sometimes
Just stirred their cups
Sitting in the darkened theater they held fast for the fantasy
In the back of the van they nudged each other for a window seat
They squealed beneath the covers that settled like clouds.
And sometimes I could taste the salt in their tears and would comfort them
And sometimes they would twine their arms into mine and
Move us forward down the avenue as the hands of a clock
Move toward the minute the hour.
And I would drink their lives, the lives of these women now
Until the years seeped away, leaving behind
A swath of remembrance.

Only I have sons
And their laughter is golden in the dusk
Their fingers tender on my heart.

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Shirley Russak Wachtel is a college English professor living in New Jersey. She holds a Doctor of Letters Degree from Drew University, and is the author of a memoir, My Mother’s Shoes, an acclaimed novel which follows her mother’s journey during the Holocaust and as a new citizen in America. She is also the author of a book of poetry, In The Mellow Light, and several books for children.


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