My mother is teaching thirteen-year-olds
printmaking. The cross-curricular lesson:
to write a haiku of a scene in nature
and carve its relief.
A boy asks for my help, and
I chastise “beautiful,” the waste
of three syllables, and ask the boy
what a beautiful girl looks like.
He admits that he doesn’t know.
Hibiscus. In three syllables,
I am kissing a former lover’s tattoo
on her warm back and thinking of my mother,
who told me I could love anyone I wanted,
even if they were purple or polka-dotted.
I sit with the boy, and we write down
all the three syllables that come to mind:
bumblebee, whitetail deer,
crab apple, newborn calf.