Selfies in the Wilderness

It wasn’t that she wanted to be pretty.
She wanted the world to see her
as she saw herself.

She wanted to see herself.

That’s what my daughter tells me.

I watch her, high up on these rocks,
her arm extended in a welcoming gesture —
she invites the world in.

I hold my phone arm up
an echo of her greeting

and am horrified to see my face —
some jackass left the camera flipped
to stare back at the operator

and now I am confronted
with my judgmental chins
and slack mouth. What

was I thinking about to make
such a grim expression?

I wanted to justify her figure
in this landscape. I wanted her
safe. My calcifying ideas

clamp around her, like the tower
Rapunzel’s furious witch-mother
locked her in. This fortress

I built with my own brain bowl,
bars grown from bone, I have stuck her
inside a snow dome, little white slips

flutter, so pretty; all the pages of magazines
telling girls how to be and the flicker
of grades and other ratings, ticker-tape

of male gaze and every comment
about her body — how tall, how blue, how boobs
and butt, how short the skirt —

why all this feedback about her appearance?
Who asked you?
And why mock her

when she draws her own door
and walks through it?