Literary Mama writing about the many faces of motherhood
After The Bath

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My five-year-old daughter
slides her fingers
between her thighs
holds her hand out to me and says,
"smell."
I hesitate,
bring my nose closer to her hand,
take a token sniff.
I recognize that scent.
Her vagina smells like mine.
I am surprised.
I don't know what I expected,
but I wasn't prepared for that sweet earthy scent
grounded in base notes.
"It's weird, Mama," she says,
scrunching her nose.
"We have our own smell," I say. "It's a pretty smell."
My daughter looks at me,
uncertain.


Bella Mahaya Carter’s poetry collection, Secrets of My Sex, is forthcoming from Bomb Shelter Press and will be released in June 2008. Her work appears in numerous print and online journals, including The Sun Magazine, ONTHEBUS, Calyx, and Pearl. She lives in Southern California with her husband and their eleven-year-old daughter.


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