Her Face in Water | Madison Grace Harden

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Madison Grace Harden graduated from New York University this past May with a B.A. in English and American Literature. She currently lives in Alexandria, Virginia with her two cats, Piglet and Pascal. She works full-time as a Marketing and Content Manager but is still plagued by the same dream she's had since she was 11 years old: writing poetry to her heart's content. Her Face in Water is her debut chapbook and her first published collection of poetry. 


Mothered by the Sea, Vol. I

Your ocean waters gave birth to her on a winter morning,
a Venus child of marsh grass and pluff mud.
You knew she was fragile so you swaddled her in creeks
and sang her swallow-tailed tunes until she fell asleep.
You were mother now, a guardian being, a deity in her
own right, matriarch of a kingdom by the sea,
and your little girl was growing growing in your lowcountry land.
Her hair grew in mossy and her eyes were Atlantic-colored
and she had your flame-red determination, although you
claim you have no idea where she got it from.
She pushed up onto her tiptoes all by herself,
her wobbly legs balancing first steps.
Your salty sea breeze caught her when she fell,
placing her gently back on her toes,
her tiny fingers stretching stretching stretching for
a blanket of soft blue sky.
You sent seagulls and fiddler crabs to watch over her
as she trekked through swampy ground,
playing make-believe among angel oak trees,
and soon they were following her as she walked to school
in oyster blue rain boots, helping her jump in puddles
so she could remember where she was from.
Then there were fights, and heartbreaks,
and hiding by the shoreline with thoughts racing racing,
watching waves crash with a ruthless fury,
and she wants to dive in and swim until her hands
turn into fins and she’s washed all of the Charleston off of her.
Your first real fight - there was a hurricane,
a winding, wild storm of meaningless, hurtful words
and suddenly slammed doors, suddenly separation,
suddenly flooded earth and sinking sinking sinking.
Still, you sent seagulls to protect her as she outgrew the
scent of seabreeze, and sand dollar dreams were replaced
with big city lights and starless, smoky skies.
You wondered if she still remembered how to build a sandcastle.