Mothering Thing

What more does a girl need but her mother?
This question I asked myself as a child
When alone at night my mind would wonder
What lay beneath your canvas, your gone smile.
How young you were, and your own dreams dismissed.
Do you ever unearth that will to leave?
Do you ever think what strange love this is,
This curious thing that binds you to me?
Mother, don’t fault me when I’m gone and grown—
A missed call, a letter returned—because
I cannot survive on water alone
And a mothering thing is not enough.
There’s only so much a mother can do.
Mother well what very soon will leave you.

About the Author

Lela Ni is a freshman at University of Southern California studying creative writing. She is a 2018 YoungArts finalist in poetry, and her writing has been recognized by Penguin Random House, the Brooklyn Public Library, and the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards. She is originally from New York, New York.