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La Preciosa


by Louis Daniel Brodsky



Just up from her afternoon nap, our baby
Disturbs the fading cascades of dusty air
With her chaos. Stubby legs take her everywhere
Within the limited perimeters of living room,
Where a miniature terrier poodle reposes,
In a pool of Sunday hours, by the vinyl recliner.

Soon, she discovers the tiny dog silently lying
On its back like Gulliver, only slightly reduced
To fit the scale of her gnomelike universe.
Slowly, she closes in on it, touches its nose,
Retreats abruptly when it awakens with a lick
On her finger, quick as a snake’s slitted tongue.

She laughs off her nervousness, pats its belly
With a rough, echoing slap. The creature flinches,
Remains still as she grabs its twitching tail
And screeches as though she can’t fully grasp
How a shaggy black bag of wagging abstraction
Can come to life out of such implacable sleep.

Continuing tentatively to pet the docile animal,
Her hand accidentally smacks its vulnerable genitals,
Attached to an unsuspecting brain. In pain,
It scurries, leaving her isolated in cross-legged awe,
Without a clue to its urgent retreat. For days,
Asleep and awake, she chases its bedouin shape.



Brodsky compiled these thirty-three "childhood poems" to celebrate the third birthday of his daughter, Trilogy. A gentle collection chronicling Trilogy’s development from one to three years of age, La Preciosa captures precious moments Brodsky spends with his child as she begins to walk, talk, and play, revealing the love and awe he feels for his "little girl growing."

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