Perihelion: An Online Journal of Poetry and Mayhem
The Phoenix Issue, No. 16, Winter 2008
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  H.L. Hix
  Marci Rae Johnson
  Jae Newman
  Geoffrey G. O'Brien
  K. Alma Peterson
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Note to Maddox Jolie-Pitt

I think of you, six, looking at the paper, any paper,

as a strange snowflake of omitted pictures and words.

Did you hear the latest news? Your mother

is in love with her bodyguard. It’s like a movie

but it’s not a movie and we know it. I heard you’re afraid

of cameras, and why not? Showered in the flash of bulbs

at toy stores, airports, and while leaving school, I know

it means little that your mother’s regarded as

the most beautiful woman. All children think that. And I know

it means still less that your father has been a detective,

a rebel, a spy—even Achilles. It’s nothing compared

to what they might be. Hidden beneath your mother’s coats,

the world of feet, of walking with your head down,

it is the world that delays eye contact and discoveries

of what remains. It hurt to find I was flawed, quiet,

insipid: me. When you are older, ready, maybe

they will fly you across the world to Cambodia, let

you discover there’s no such place. That bag of toys

your mother carries across the street—what

does it contain? Does it contain a faceless doll

that says, I love you, goodbye, that says

I miss you in a native tongue?