Cord or twine used to bind 
or cover a rope, keep the ends
from fraying.
To begin, 

place a hand 
on your daughter’s shoulders.
Tell her fifth grade is 
a bloodletting.

Show her your own path
of hard turns taken
before you were hauled taut
and loosed into motherhood.

Say, this knot 
is a folded note. 
This knot is a map

back to me. Lay out a rope.
Tell her to gather each end.
Say stitch them tight
or burn them down.

Copyright © 2023 by K. D. Harryman. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on January 12, 2023, by the Academy of American Poets.