The First Time I Enter a Ladies Restroom with My Daughter |
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The First Time I Enter a Ladies Restroom with My Daughter

Honorable Mention 2017 Poetry Contest

When you were three years old, I knocked on the men’s room door,
and, taking your hand, opened the door cautiously.

I’d never been in a men’s room before.
Urinal against the wall, a small white cake

of air freshener down in the porcelain,
only one stall with a door,

stainless steel, no pink wallpaper,
no silk flowers in a vase on the vanity.

I felt awkward while you felt proud to go on your own,
still needing help, right there in the men’s room.

Thirty years later, you have transitioned from man to woman,
tall, with long curly hair touching your shoulders,

a hint of blush on high cheek bones, pink lips,
a necklace of crystal beads resting on your collarbones.

After lunch you don’t think twice when we head to the ladies room.
I wonder—do you feel tentative like I did long ago in the men’s room?

But you look like you know where you are going.
I scan the room to see if other women are looking at you, at us.

Surely, someone will notice. But they don’t.
Ladies keep fixing their hair, checking their teeth for lipstick,

fumble for lip gloss in their purses.
We wash and dry our hands, fluff our hair,

you tuck in your blouse, we reach for the door,
I re-enter the world with my daughter.

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Annette L. Grunseth is a retired marketing and public relations professional in the field of healthcare communications and marketing.

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