Dear Child: An Explanation of Why I Never Had You by Tresha Faye Haefner

The truth is, you were better in the imagination. Staring out a window watching snow fall into caverns. The truth is I never wanted this body, and there was already too much of it. Too much neck. Legs that stuck out over the couch. Hair that came out in the brush.

A team of carpenter ants is carrying the martyred carcass of a moth over the porch. It looks like the insect is floating upside down, cloud gazing as it moves.

I never wanted to teach anyone about their own ecosystem. Urine. Blood stains on the underwear. The generation of hair on the pubis. All the sweaty things that make us stick.

The truth is, I didn’t want to share you with you either. Let you emerge as your own kind of insect. Growing your own journey. I prefer the ethereal nowhere of us. The long road trips we take in the everywhere.

You, my second skin, the one I always wanted. That’s why I never kidnapped you out of the egg of my imagination. Instead I let you keep your own silence. Now I look in on you,

in the nursery of my fears, where you are always awake, unscathed by the heaviness of bones and trappings of muscle, your fingers busy as light. Your hair impossible as wind to hold.


Tresha Faye Haefner is a writer, editor, workshop-facilitator, and founder of The Poetry Salon, Los Angeles where she uses her knowledge to guide other writers into accessing their authentic, creative voice.

Tresha spent ten years teaching in private schools, before earning an M.A. Degree in Humanistic Psychology, with a specialization in creativity studies, from Saybrook University. She has been an active teacher at California Poets in the Schools, helped to curate the CPITS Anthology of Lesson Plans, and was a grant recipient through the Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs Artist-In-Residence program.

Tresha has learned at the feet of innovative poets such as Kim Addonizio, Sally Ashton, Ellen Bass, Matthew Dickman, Jack Grapes, Suzanne Lummis, Eloise Klein Healy, Naomi Shihab-Nye, and founder of the Poetry Depths Mystery School, Kim Rosen. Her own work has been published in several journals, including BloodLotus, The Cincinnati Review Fourth River, Hunger Mountain, Pirene’s Fountain, Poet Lore, Prairie Schooner, and Rattle. She is the recipient of the 2011 Robert and Adele Schiff Poetry Prize, the 2011 Alien Sloth Sex Award, a 2015 Pushcart nominee, and author of two chapbooks, The Lone Breakable Night and Take This Longing from Finishing Line Press.


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