Sketches_POST Header-01.png
  • Rachel Welcher

Planter Box



It’s still winter in South Dakota.


I get through it by kissing your cheeks

and thinking about the garden we will plant

come spring. I picture your tiny, bare

toes, scrunching the soil, and your small,

baby hands, shaking seed packets

like tambourines.


I can see a future where

you grow a little taller each week,

using your yellow, plastic watering can

to drench bright shoots of green;

checking every stem

of every tomato plant

multiple times a day, hoping

to find a tomato worm, because you’ve

always wanted to see one, and because -

secretly - you hope to keep one

for a pet.


The truth is, I never thought I’d meet you.

I always knew you’d be a girl,

and that you would be magic,

but I didn’t actually believe in magic -

that I’d get to hold you in my arms

and teach you to hold all things

with open hands, letting seeds fall

gently through your fingers

into prairie soul, and prayers

fall bravely from your lips.


I know that winter is hard,

playing indoors, getting tired of puzzles,

hoping to trade hot chocolate for popsicles,

and books for sprinklers. I know that

so often our seeds of hope

are covered in snow.

But you’re my daughter.

So I also know

that you will see the potential

in every winter garden.


You will find your colored pencils

in the cabinet by the kitchen table,

spread out in your jammies on

a blanket in the living room

pretending it’s a sunshine picnic,

and you will map out a plan

for each planter box in our yard,

coloring every zinnia pink, and

every parsley leaf, the brightest

shade of green,

until spring comes.



Cover image by Nikoline Arns.

Don't miss a thing.

Sign up below to stay up-to-date on Fathom columns.

Where to Find More from Rachel

  • Instagram
  • Facebook
  • Twitter