Literary Mama writing about the many faces of motherhood
My Daughter in the Garden

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One -- two -- three, she counts and drops
the seeds in shallow holes. Bye-bye,
she says. See you soon! Palms pat

the dampened soil. Hands clasp and twirl
a daisy stem. One -- two -- three, she counts
and plucks its tattered cape. Bye-bye, she calls

to each. Petals dip and scoop the air
in their narrow sails. Away! Away! A swallow
cries. Wings scissor the ragged sky. An aircraft

roars. Sound fills my chest and drains away.
One -- two -- three, I count the years. Chins tilt
skyward. Hands press cool glass. Bye-bye, I say.


Sally Houtman is the author of the nonfiction book To Grandma’s House, We…Stay, Quick Publishing. Her fiction and poetry have appeared in many print and online publications, including flashquake, Mobius: The Journal of Social Change, Tattoo Highway, and Touch: The Journal of Healing. She relocated from Los Angeles to Wellington, New Zealand, in 2005, where she now lives with her Kiwi husband and two Kiwi-American children.


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I love the first and last stanzas of this poem. I could totally see the little girl patting the earth, telling the seeds good-bye. And I could visualize the mother with her hands on the cool glass, waving her young daughter off to school. Thanks for sharing such tender moments.
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