Vox Populi

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Valerie Duff: Follow You Into

for my daughter

In the Wellesley 

Botanic Gardens

the seedlings 

spread in rows,

each dirt patch

a minor


silent at contact.


Your babyhood 

not unlike 

this studied cloister,

your brother 

within me then, green-

housed as if fruition

or weather 

could strike us

in a lie.


You held my hand,

he held dark 

matter. I stooped,

a loaded bullwhip set

to fling, Vitruvian,

my arms, yours, and his

ghostly ones imposed,

a spinning windmill.

You nestled in the sail


then broke free,  

chattering loudly

hands on trays

not touching stems, 

buds, or the leaves’

small shouts of 

hallelujah to the light, 

to mist, and green 

broad rows,


or maybe 

to my red knit hat 

with yarn flower 

I loved 

until I lost it.

Copyright 2021 Valerie Duff

Valerie Duff is the author of To the New World, published by Salmon Poetry. She is a recipient of grants from the Massachusetts Cultural Council and St. Botolph Foundation for her work, she has also been awarded fellowships from the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts and from the Writers’ Room of Boston.

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This entry was posted on January 19, 2022 by in Poetry and tagged , .

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