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In Ann Fisher-Wirth’s poem “Daughters” the line “My house is full of…” is repeated until the last two stanzas. This has the effect of slowing down the overall rhythm of the poem. “Daughters” is a intimate poem by both its content and by the close relationship described of mother and daughter. “My house is full of blood” can be read as both the literal blood connection between family and menses. The image she uses in this first stanza is one of a sea and a fish to represent menses. The line “drags her pretty belly on the ground” illustrates this experience of development as a loss. The next stanza evokes a more literal images of her walking pass her developing daughters breast and her daughter bathing herself. In the poem there is a slight shift when the speaker corrects themselves by stating “I mean they are my daughters’ in the bathtub,” referring to their breast. In both the first and second stanza there is a reflection on how their lives once were such as “…so cleanly cleft, so simple,” and “they who suckled me now outdo me.” While there is a sense of loss that they are now growing, there also seem to be a sense of shame of gazing when the speaker states: “And though I do not stare, my house is full of fur.” There is a conflict between bodily autonomy and the acceptance that these developing bodies are one in the same with the daughters the speaker has raised. The tone shifts to one of worry and tenderness with the image “I stroke her arm so gently, cherishing the vine-fine skin, and swore no one would ever hurt her.”

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