birds in a barrel's mission is to release creative nonfiction into the wild.

40 Days & 40 Writes is its first project.

Advice for a Daughter

When you come home after so much time
away, darkness draping everything you
knew, don't rush from room to room to lift
the shades, even though you gasp for light
and air. Someone has been sleeping here, wrapped
tight against the day, may still be safely
dreaming in a place you can't yet see. 
Let your eyes adjust. Set your bags down
gently on the carpet/cat hair/grime, the
peanut skins still ground around the chair,
the old man's place so long, the TV
loud, the phone a link to all the friends
who wanted cash for love. Forgive yourself
for bringing home the chair, a recliner
that refused to lift him up, but held him
closer than most beings in this life
except the cat. Feel the way the darkness
keeps his presence in suspension, how he
hovers just the way he always did, but
now he calls her, sweet talks from the home. 
And can't you just forgive him now, not
scrub him all away? As you try to sort
things out, past collapsed in one gigantic
heap, don't rush to tidy, or to summon
the wintry afternoon light. Sit quiet
in the too-chaotic dark. Remember, 
there's no way for you to fix this. Remember, 
love, there is nothing for you to fix.

Shreds of wisdom

Routine