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maps

The mapmaker’s daughter peers between the lilacs.
Sits on his knee when he has friends for tea.
Watches him in his study
while he makes maps. Sketches
mountains and valleys,
forests and cities. Tugs at his sleeve
and cries for a cup of milk at times.
Suggests names for cities and roads
he never takes.

lilacs like the ones the mapmaker's daughter peers through in the beginning of the poem

She grows up. Learns to do her own hair
and pour her own milk. Prunes the lilacs
in the garden and plants lavender
and sage and a small Japanese maple,
the ornamental kind. Suggests names
for far-off lands her father sometimes takes.

a Japanese maple tree like the one the mapmaker's daughter plants in the poem

She falls in love with a man her father hates.
The man hates art. He breaks her heart.
Her father finds her in the night
with tears on her face and mascara,
mascara running down her cheeks in lines
like you see in the movies sometimes.

the mapmaker's daughter crying

She learns to love again. Learns to hold her head
up high. Marries in the time of COVID-19
in her childhood backyard
with the lilacs in full bloom. Her father
gives her away. Presides over a party. Then
returns to his study and to his maps
and smiles.

man and woman getting married

If you enjoyed “The Mapmaker’s Daughter,” read more poetry!

All poetry is housed on The Poetry Deck.

You might particularly enjoy the poem “Portrait of a Florist,” which is thematically similar to “The Mapmaker’s Daughter.”

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