scratch my back"
she said, sitting
pulling up the back of her shirt.
I did, because
that's what fathers do
when daughters ask.
after a few
I hit the spot.
the tension drained out
like a wound spring turning to warm wax
she turned her head
and looked at me
I wanted to tell her
that this might be as good as it ever gets
that six was easy but at sixteen
we'd be arguing
boys and clothes and homework and piercings and chores and other silly things
I decided to just take the smile, for now
until the night she needs it again.