The Nutcracker

                                                My daughter is twelve when they ask her to dance
                                                in the opening scene, the one with the Christmas tree 

                                                filling the stage with dreams of sugar plum  
                                                faeries and toy soldier armies. It’s the scene 

                                                with the children, ribbons streaming through raven
                                                and golden hair, lips curving into perfect bows,

                                                brows shining like the sheen on satin wrappings,
                                                and around the tree gifts piled like snowdrifts, 

                                                scattered like rose petals, the soft white lights
                                                of the mother and father flickering in the evening

                                                air. The ballet is two months away when my
                                                daughter says, Please, Dad. We need someone

                                                to be the father. Just for a few weeks. Just