Literary Mama writing about the many faces of motherhood
The Mystery of Footprints

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At the top of a mountain
there is a blue-green lake,
so clear you can see all
the way to the bottom
where boulders are spotted
with some dream lichen --
cold water and children
on the opposite shore
tossing in stones.
At my feet a mystery:
tiny tracks in the snow.
What animal made them?
How did I get --

Here, my son wakes me.
I don't want to help him.
He's nervous. He's had a nightmare,
can't even go back
to bed on his own.
I take him there, trying to hold on
to the feeling of that delicious water.
I ask him about his bad dream;
he tells me robbers came in
and stole me away from him.
I share my dream
to soothe him. He says 'night
before I'm finished. The mystery
of footprints still unsolved.


Jessica Purdy holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Emerson College where she has taught writing and was a reader for Ploughshares, the Literary Journal. Her poetry has appeared in What Is Home (the 2007 Portsmouth Poet Laureate program’s publication), Ethereal Dances, Analecta, The Beacon Street Review, and Main Street Magazine. She lives in Exeter, New Hampshire, with her husband and two children. She runs poetry workshops locally and facilitates weekend writing retreats on Cape Cod.


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