she was supposed to be here,
sitting in that empty chair there,
as the dog sleeps behind her on the carpet.
having eaten her hot dog with her mother's homemade chili, having chatted with her grandparents for the first time in person since last summer,
having had her nails done in pretty princess pink
and found gold slippers that don't hurt her feet,
to go with the dress we bought her in new york last month.
was supposed to be talking to me
while her husband ate the marinated shrimp he loves
while her dad gets her hugs for father's day.
but she didn't get here.
two canceled flights and $100 cab ride for naught
left them anxious about trying yet another
and left me (and her dad) once again more than disappointed
that sometimes it seems NYC just won't let their displaced southerners
so instead of a house full of people
and the chance to watch my daughter
watch her friend since 4th grade tie the knot this afternoon,
i will spend my evening wishing she were here
and wiping my eyes, imagining the two of them in their
stoplight halloween costumes
or as a diamond and spade
in a deck of life-sized cards the year after that.
that will be me, looking at her empty chair knowing
just how much she would love the flowers,
imagining her smile and her bare feet on the dance floor
with her husband and her high school friends.
and she will be wondering and texting and calling
but will have to wait for my pictures
to see just how much the groom looks like her husband,
and how the bride's wedding gown
looks so much like her own.