A reasonably thick blanket of snow
A subject: a daughter will do
Optional: waterproof, warm clothing
(if you wish to appear to be a good parent.)
Walk away when your daughter cries – whatever upset her will pass
and dealing with her emotional dramas is an unnecessary time suck.
Let her make friends at school but restrict how she sees them outside
school. You want her isolated so her focus is on you.
Be hypercritical: she must never feel she deserves warmth.
Be capricious in your decisions: she must never be able to predict
you or feel stability.
Ignore her boundaries: secrets separate her from you.
Dampen her ambitions – her purpose is to reflect you.
Challenge everything she says so she comes to see your view
is the only one that matters.
Push her out into the snow so she will lie in its cold embrace.
Force her to move her legs in a scissor motion.
If she begins to show symptoms of hypothermia,
be clear it is due to her failure to keep warm.
Make her flutter her arms. Be clear she will never fly
no matter how hard she tries.
Instruct her to stand unaided.
Be ready to blame her if the imprint in the snow is damaged.
Push her aside, photograph your snow angel and publish on social media.
Your daughter was merely a tool. The credit is all yours.
Listen to Emma reading ‘How to Make a Snow Angel’ (1:49).
Emma Lee’s publications include ‘The Significance of a Dress’ (Arachne 2020) and ‘Ghosts in the Desert’ (IDP 2015). She co-edited Over Land, Over Sea (Five Leaves 2015), is Poetry Reviews Editor for The Blue Nib, reviews for magazines and blogs at http://emmalee1.wordpress.com
© text and audio 2020