My Daughter’s Eyes

Nancy Hightower

Not upturned like a cat’s to bat at the men and women you meet, nor wide and innocent like Eve’s before she bit the apple. No, your gaze is unwavering, brow hovering so close that people ask if you’re angry or sad when you’re not, and I wonder what you’re plotting, whether to set your brother on fire or do the dishes like I asked. They’re not hooded enough that we’ll have to heavily shadow your lids to make your eyes “pop,” neither are they large enough to stare me down when I question all the unsavory choices you’ll make. Some days you wear red just to see if wolves exist. That sparkle in your eye glints like silver coins when you bring home your report card and ask for cherry-flavored lip gloss as reward, thinking you can wheedle your way to blush. Eventually you’ll learn the magic that flows from a dark kohl pencil, how it can transform any sullen glare into the double bind tease. Already the boys are beginning to look. Your girlfriends giggle and invite you to parties that you return from with glittered lashes, shining lips. No matter, sweet thing. Even Lucifer fancied himself as an angel of light.

Nancy Hightower has published short fiction and poetry in journals such as storySouth, Gargoyle, Prick of the Spindle, Literary Orphans, and Word Riot. Her novel, Elementarí Rising, came out from Pink Narcissus Press in September 2013 and this fall, Port Yonder Press will publish The Acolyte, her first collection of poetry. She currently reviews science fiction and poetry for The Washington Post and teaches at Hunter College.