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My Daughters in New York

What streets, what taxis transport them
over bridges & speed bumps-my daughters swift

in pursuit of union? What suitors amuse them, what mazes
of avenues tilt & confuse them as pleasure, that pinball

goes bouncing off light posts & lands in a pothole,
only to pop up & roll in the gutter? What footloose new

freedoms allow them to plow through all stop signs,
careening at corners, hell-bent for the road to blaze straight?

It's 10 P.M. in the boonies. My children, I'm thinking
you're thinking your children are waiting

for you to conceive them while you're in a snarl
with my sons-in-law-to-be who want also to be

amazing explorers beguiled by these reckless night rides
that may God willing give way to ten thousand good mornings!

—James Reiss

from Ten Thousand Good Mornings, 2001
Carnegie Mellon University Press, Pittsburg, PA

Copyright 2001 by James Reiss.
All rights reserved.

Reprinted by permission of Carnegie Mellon University Press from Ten Thousand Good Mornings. Copyright 2001 by James Reiss. For further permissions information, contact

Poetry 180

About the Poet

James Reiss is the author of six poetry collections, including The Novel (WordTech Communications, 2015). As professor emeritus of English at Miami University, Reiss was founding editor of Miami University Press in Oxford, Ohio.

Learn more about James Reiss at The Poetry Foundation.