as she turns to leave
my mother’s
girlish smile



(originally appeared in Valley Micropress (NZ), June, 2010)

4 Responses

  1. Frances Ruth Harris Says:

    Wonderful generational connection! I remember my parents watching me when they realized my eyes operated in much the same way as my paternal grandmother's did. I could see things almost microscopically when they were very close to my eyes. They just stood there smiling at me. Thanks for posting this.

  2. Jan Dobb Says:

    I like how the first line invites different interpretations of the following two. There is poignant mystery here.

  3. Alan Summers Says:

    My mother is in her nineties, but always retains the child in her from time to time. We should never leave the child in us.

    warm regards,


  4. Peter Newton Says:

    a warm expression of genuine, reciprocal and perhaps inherited naivete–so few words to show that captured glimpse of knowledge: the girlishness of a mother and the implied girlishness of the speaker, together giving the poem its unspokenness — that we are all at once young and old and every age we've ever been in the brevity of it all. Life is one long departure, after all. (as she turns to leave) I appreciate the quiet gratitude between each line.

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