SWWIM publishes, celebrates, & promotes women, women-identifying & Femme-presenting writers through a Miami-based reading series & the online poetry journal SWWIM Every Day.

Poem for When You Want to Remember by Mia Ayumi Malhotra

 for A.



How the days passed, suffused in summer

light, your curiosity caught by every clover-

filled crack in the sidewalk, every brick


alcove in the parking lot, where I said

now be a duckling! and you fell in line

behind me, quacking, every moment,


a bright Bonita peach, bitten and dripping

down the chin, because soon our family

would be four, not three—for you, age two,


an uncertain concept, four fingers lifted

to mean possibility beyond measure, which

is how I felt, too, soaked in the sweetness


of our play, make-believe in the backyard.

Unlike two, which we’d mastered, or three,

a flight you felt coming, claimed each time


you reached farther, higher, whenever

we swung you, one—two—three! into the air, 

sandals flying in the face of the unknown.


I can’t know, you used to say, which was

far truer than you knew, each number

counted to its end, our life just begun.

Mia Ayumi Malhotra is the author of ISAKO ISAKO (forthcoming September 2018), winner of the 2017 Alice James Award. She received an MFA from the University of Washington. She is a Kundiman and VONA/Voices Fellow, and her poems are forthcoming or have appeared in CALYX, Indiana Review, Greensboro Review, Best New Poets, and elsewhere. 

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