Literary Mama writing about the many faces of motherhood
Dragonfly Daughter


I'm a martyr, spoke the dragonfly
into the tepid evening air, her words

cut through by swarms of gnats near our heads.
That is what she meant / she accepted

martyrdom as her plight, as I / her daughter,
no longer a nymph, oding before her

as if I expected something other
than the transparency of her wings;

my mandibles as serrated as my remarks
about the life she chose—she flies backwards.

We could have both been twenty then.
I was twenty, the evening sky wide

balanced and agile in the air—I knew I'd never
be / never utter / I'm a martyr / to my own

daughter—her larvae nine years
in the making, like the nine months

my mother claimed it took to make me
when she herself was only twenty. Married

in August / born in March / finally
I did the math. Seven months—

dragonflies only survive
for seven months.

She couldn't be twenty. I'm twenty.
Our heads heavy with sight—

all eyes, seeing in every direction,
what came before, what will happen next,

who's flying beside us now—the maddening
whine of a mosquito sends me into a dive

close to the earth as I watch my mother
hover above me, too timid to swoop.

Trish Hopkinson is a poet, blogger, and advocate for the literary arts. You can find her online at and provisionally in Utah, where she runs the regional poetry group Rock Canyon Poets and folds poems to fill Poemball machines for Provo Poetry. Her poetry has been published in several lit mags and journals, including Tinderbox, Glass Poetry Press, and The Penn Review; her third chapbook Footnote was published by Lithic Press in 2017. Hopkinson will happily answer to labels such as atheist, feminist, and empty nester; and she enjoys traveling, live music, wine-tasting, and craft beer.

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I LOVE this poem, Trish!!! “I was twenty the evening sky wide...” Just one of two many marvelous lines to number Thank you very much for sharing this poem with your many many friends and family...we have hundreds of reasons to celebrate you Peace, Jill
Thanks Aunt Jill!