Chameleon - UBC's Journal of Children's Literature
v 1 n 1
Spring 2003

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by Jill Boettger

Potter's DaughterMom's hands move clay
like wind in marsh grass
or rain gushing out eaves.
It's as though she's connected
to a bigger tool, spinning
off the point of a cosmic
power drill, perfectly steady.
She touches me with the same
strength. Stroke, press, stroke,
fingers coiling hair, pinching
earlobes and eyebrows and cheeks,
she moves my face
with the same deep pushes
that loosen the life into her clay.

When I was little, mom kneaded
cream into my pudgy arms and legs
still hot from the bath,
red blotches like poppies all over.
Since I've grown to her size
her shape too
she touches me finer,
her fingers tracing a trail
she's followed a thousand times.

I study my hands.
They're fatter than Mom's:
my fingers are wider,
my palms are chubbier,
but I still imitate her.
I memorize the way she touches,
graceful and precise. I practice
on Harlan, trace the line
of his suntan, over and over.
He falls asleep under my hands
and I memorize his face:
eyelids, temples, lips,
every rosy part.
Illustration by Lydia Podobnik      
Read by Jill Boettger       

Chameleon: UBC's Journal of Children's Literature

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