Fall 2011 • Vol. XXXIII No. 4 Patricia Grodd Poetry PrizeOctober 1, 2011 |

Ripening

Runner-up 2011 Patricia Grodd Poetry Prize for Young Writers   The summer I left home, a woman next to a honeysuckle vine counted the pearl buttons of my mother's sweater. She said, I like your button. Your button. Your button. No one heard except my mother and the woman's wooden doll, its joints revealing themselves with every count. And when I open the letters my mother sends, I long for her lips across my bare forehead, for peaches ripening in brown paper bags, for something other than letters to hold on to. As the ink fades, I try to forget that I'm someone apart from her, at a place my roots can't grasp. I protect my mother from becoming that woman in the Alzheimer's garden, forgetting the names of flowers she never knew, and my mother protects me from becoming any woman. And until one of us loses the grip on the other, we'll measure love in letters I never respond to, assuming they keep coming at all.

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Emily Nason lives in Columbia, South Carolina, and is a senior creative writing student at the South Carolina Governor’s School for the Arts and Humanities. She plans to study creative writing in college.

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