What Her Mother Said

Narrinai 179

If a calving cow
chewed up her purslane creeper
growing near the house,

she'd throw the ball to the ground,
push away the doll,
and beat herself on her pretty tummy,
my little girl,
who knows now how to do things.

With a look tender as a doe's,
she'd refuse the milk
mixed with honey
her foster-mother and I would bring,
she'd sob and cry.

She was that way till yesterday.
Yet today,

trusting the lies
of a blackbeard man
she's gone
through the wilderness, laughing,
they say,
showing her white teeth
like new buds on a palm tree.
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