A lesson from my mother in her garden

by Alexis Groulx

for Missy Shelley

I try to understand love
from my mother. She tells me the difference
between wanting someone and counting on them.

I can’t tell which she thinks is more important.

Swift Corwin
Gathering Pollen Amidst Splashes of Purple by Swift Corwin

My mother never taught me to say no to people
I thought I could trust. I imagine nobody
taught her either.

Our hands wrist deep in drying soil
under a sunless sky. She says if you decide to have kids
you’ll be thankful you have my hips. Smiles
under a cool brim of beige.

I want to tell her I’m thankful
for every piece of me that came from her. Slim
nose, closed-mouth smile, sly eyes. But especially
the part of me that learned to love a man
who came after all the ones I never learned to say no to.


Alexis Groulx is a senior at New Hampshire Institute of Art where she studies poetry and prose. Her work has been previously published in Ayris, After the Pause, Gravel, and Vineyards press. She lives in New Hampshire.

Swift Corwin is a forester, photographer, poet, and intermittent blogger. He can be spotted deep in the woods or at the lunch counter of some off-the-beaten-path eatery. You can read his blog, called Lunch with Swift, at https://lunchwithswift.wordpress.com/. His camera is always with him. He looks for beauty and unique views of the places he travels. And he travels New Hampshire feverishly, especially the Monadnock region. His poetry is an extension of the photography. He strives to make word pictures—pinning a moment’s feeling to time and space.