Ivory and Lace

Ivory and lace

against the pale of your face,

and layers of sheer

and your two front teeth here,

and your love of the stage, and

your bossiness and rage

and your belt and your bow,

your freckle finger,

your little snaggle toe.


ivory and lace ryanne

Beauty is Not Always Pretty

To my young daughter:

Notice the hydrangea,

both blue and purple.

Blue and purple

are the mealy veins

that line the bulb

of a nose

on that codger

who told you today

that you are not pretty.

Honey, he cannot see

beyond his small

square of green lawn.

You of the tender cheeks.

You of the soprano that rises

out the window as you play

your own piano songs.


Daughter’s Song

by, Heather Keyser

On our hike

with another 7 year old

and her mom,

I refuse to let you

dictate every decision

the group makes

at every fork in the trail.



refuse to walk any further,

and instead you climb around

in a tree,

crouching up there

like one of our earliest ancestors

and shaking the branches at me.

I hate your




Every idea

you ever had

is so

dumb.  Huh!

I wish

I never

had you for a mom.  Huh!


The grass under my feet

is dead and crispy from the drought.


Then, this morning,

you wear your black velvet

tiered skirt

right below your bare shoulders

above your turquoise skirt

on your waist,

and you come into the backyard,

where Dad and I are talking,

to invite us to your concert.

You seat us behind the piano bench,

next to your teddy bear and princess doll, and

you take your seat at the keys

and play us a very long

and beautiful

song you composed just this morning,

entitled “Why Am I Without You.”

I assume that is the title,

because it is what you keep singing




as you play

up and down