Cloth Petals

By Elizabeth Oxendine, TIWP Student

My daughter likes to spill moist dirt onto her bedroom floor
and wait for happiness to grow on dancing green vines.
But in the sliver of the world we have left to her,
mother nature is barren and so is the soil.
All that she nurtures in her garden are fake flowers with cloth petals
robbed of their ability to grow.

My daughter cuts her fingers on the sharp plastic of a toy elephant.
It sits on the same shelf as the dinosaurs and all of the other creatures
who have gone extinct.

My daughter’s eyes fill with inky envy every time I unearth a sacred memory
of standing ankle deep in a clear river,
a silky, slimy, tadpole shaking with enough life
to break past the prison of my bare fingertips.

My daughter hears the whispers of redwood trees,
a conversation with old friends, in a fever dream;
she is a stranger to the whispers in her waking hours.

My daughter knows nature as an Italian lover,
who slid from milky sheets never to return,
but whose wine glass had left an irremovable imprint.


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