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
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.