American Life in Poetry

Many of us feel a great sense of pride as we watch our children discover the world for the first time. Here, Kathleen Driskell, a Kentucky poet, shows us her own daughter taking that first taste of a late summer watermelon she has grown herself.


In first grade, you met Squanto,

nearly naked and

on his haunches, showing

those thick-headed pilgrims

how one must plant fish

to grow maize. And in autumn

you dove into the lobotomized

pumpkin, into the gooey pulp

and seeds, raising a clump

like a slimy chandelier

from the Titanic. And now

in late summer, daughter,

you smile, holding a ripe watermelon,

cut in half, exposing the black

seed within its bright red heart.

Your melon. How proud you are

to think you grew this delicious

thing all on your own.

Poem copyright 2009 by Kathleen Driskell from ”Seed Across Snow” (Red Hen Press, 2009), and reprinted by permission of the author and publisher. American Life in Poetry is supported by the Poetry Foundation and the English department at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. We do not accept unsolicited manuscripts.


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