Literary Mama writing about the many faces of motherhood
Late April, Early May

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Late April, and my daughters tell me
they want to plant a garden.
I look at their cornsilk hair,
fresh apricot cheeks, string-bean arms.
I don't say my season has passed,
I don't understand soil or roots.
Though I long to get blackberry juice
on my chin in a big backyard.
Ours has moles, or voles--
I am too tired to learn the difference
and too busy to remember to care.
Lunch has come from a store,
which got it from a plant
with assembly lines and concrete walls.
Powerless to plant
anything other than my hands
on my hips, I say
these things take time.

Early May, having yelled at them
for not getting dressed quickly enough,
not making their beds,
I dig up the courage
to say I am sorry,
I should not have screamed;
you are good, and no one
should yell at you like that.
They nod and offer me
their buttercup hands to hold.
The five-year-old glimpses the cup
she brought home from the field trip
the kindergarten took to the farm:
two tiny bursts of green
where yesterday, only brown.
"My okra!" she shouts,
and I think, how hard could it be,
we could find a corner of the yard, and try.


Donna Levine Gershon’s poems have appeared online in storySouth and qarrtsiluni, and in Kakalak: Anthology of Carolina Poets. She lives in Oxford, Mississippi, with her husband and their two daughters.


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This is beautiful, meaningful, and makes me wish my kids were here right this very minute.
How helpful to hear poems about a character doing what we hate to admit we sometimes do--and so well written.
This poem is simply beautiful. It touches my heart.
lovely. touching.
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