She and I sit at the dining room table.

She has her schoolbooks. Spelling and math.

I’m making bracelets with crystals and pearls.

One for her and one for me.

Our Shar-pei, Krinkles, is asleep on the floor.

Tell me again about daddy, she says.

I’ve told her this a thousand times;

his name is James. He’s an artist.

I only went out with him twice.

Never had a dime to his name.

But so good-looking. You have his eyes.

Krinkles snores, and she and I laugh.

She goes back to her spelling. Her math.

A crystal bead falls to the floor.

I reach down. Pick it up.

Hold it up to the light.

Each tiny facet is a world of its own.

I blink once or twice.

She and Krinkles are gone.

I never brought her into this world.

She would always have wondered

what she did wrong

and except out of spite,

I wouldn’t have the heart or the guts

to say, you were born.

She and I at the dining room table.

It’s pretty and sweet as a sugarplum crystal.

Schoolbooks and bracelets

and Krinkles asleep on the floor.

But then I reach down,

hold it up to the light

and each tiny facet turns on its own.

I’ve told her this a thousand times;

I never brought you into this world

to save you from me.

It's the only thing I’ve ever done right.