Keri Hakan was born and raised in the Midwest but considers Oregon her home. She lives, loves and writes in Portland. Her muse calls her to the woods and rivers of Oregon often. Keri is published in Wings of Wonder poetry anthology from Wingless Dreamer Publisher, Windfall Journal, Tiny Seed Journal, Kosmos Journal, 2023 Oregon Poetry Calendar, Upper Left Edge paper, The Corvallis Advocate newspaper and The Mindfulness Bell magazine. She has participated with her poetry in artists collaboration projects in Portland, Oregon.
Father Daughter Field Guide
Dad, did you know?
One day I would live in the valley between mountains and drive
to the Pacific Ocean in the time it took you to till
a backyard garden in dry, Missouri dirt.
I would leave the prairie and oaks; make a home
with the Western cedars and firs, mountain streams
that feed rivers merging into the Pacific.
These waters will carry my mid-day soak across the world.
I can be anything, is what you told me, Dad.
You picked pickle clover out of our yard,
handed them to me with the yellow flowers still attached,
told me to eat them—out of the yard.
You carried me on your shoulders in the Ozarks
to the blackberry patch where I could reach the best berries; eat
until I was stained purple, your favorite color.
Dad, do you know?
I have picked huckleberries from the forest on the Pacific Coast Trail,
taught a girl—not my own— to stain her fingers and lips
eating blackberries on a dirt road beneath a Hooded sky:
I have blood like streams and rivers, a heart dressed
in velvet but solid underneath like the old, moss covered
cedars and firs that grow in the woods and stand over me as I sleep.
Did you know?
I would find my own way
under consistent sky clouds, barefoot on the earth
instead of kneeling in a pew—guarded by one book—surrounded
by saints in stained glass.
You spared me time: you opened that book, knelt
into those stories, passed out stale crackers
thinking about me, and the pickle clover, and the
blackberries in the valley of mountains driving to the sea