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

Watching My Son Play Alone

Crouched behind
the burning bush, he watches
the other children.
He breaks into laughter
as girls leap into mounds
of autumn leaves.
As the children play,
he sketches in the dust
with a twig. He turns to me,
his face, a pale leaf
trembling in the haze
of crimson.
At six years old
I wandered from recess
into the meadow.
Sinking to the ground
I pressed my cheek
to a bed of clover.
I closed my eyes
and heard the churn
of soil, grubs gnawing
the pale limbs of
dandelion roots.
Delving beetles
hummed me to sleep,
the schoolyard vanishing
in the meadow’s golden flame.
Listen, my son,
as the children pass.
Feel the call
of a greater pleasure.
Palm the darkened
heart of the fallen
walnut. Let it crumble
in your hand.
Kneel and stroke
the bristling back
of the meadow. Emerge
from its blaze, a new animal.

A Kundiman Fellow, Sayuri Ayers is a resident of Columbus, Ohio. Her poetry and prose have appeared in Entropy, The Pinch, Hobart, and other literary journals. She is the author of two chapbooks: Radish Legs, Duck Feet (Green Bottle Press) and Mother/Wound (forthcoming from Full/Crescent Press). Sayuri has been awarded grants from the Ohio Arts Council, Greater Columbus Arts Council, and VSA Ohio. She is also the recipient of the Hippocampus Magazine’s 2019 HippoCamp Scholarship.