American Life in Poetry: Column 456
BY TED KOOSER, U.S. POET LAUREATE
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.
We do not accept unsolicited submissions. American Life in Poetry is made possible by The Poetry Foundation (www.poetryfoundation.org), publisher of Poetry magazine. It is also supported by the Department of English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Poem copyright ©2009 by Kathleen Driskell, whose most recent publication is Peck and Pock: A Graphic Poem, Fleur de Lis Explorations, 2012. Poem reprinted from Seed Across Snow, Red Hen Press, 2009, by permission of Kathleen Driskell and the publisher. Introduction copyright © 2019 by The Poetry Foundation. The introduction's author, Ted Kooser, served as United States Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress from 2004-2006.