Letter From My Mother

in Poetry
By Penny Perry

Daughter, my dying, leaving when you were only 16, turned you wild. (Yes, in new jeans, we once planted a perfect English garden behind a picket fence.)

redtailhawkDirt in your fingernails, ragged straw hat, waist deep in cattails, you coax orchids from desert soil. When the hawk, guarding its young, swooped down knocking the hat from your un-brushed hair, digging its talons into curls I once combed with my fingers, I would have ducked as you first did.

But would I have then, startled, and still shaking, straightened myself and saluted the red tail streaking to the safety of the wire?


About Penny Perry


A three time Pushcart nominee, twice for poetry and once for fiction, my stories and poems have been widely published in literary magazines. Fiction Daily tagged my short story "Haunting the Alley," published online in Literary Mama in August 2011.

My first collection of poetry, Santa Monica Disposal & Salvage, was published in 2012 by Garden Oak Press. The collection earned praise from Marge Piercy, Steve Kowit, Diane Wakoski, and Maria Gillan. I was the fiction editor for Knot Literary Magazine, a Middle Eastern literary journal.

I was a screenwriting fellow at the American Film Institute, and my movie A Berkeley Christmas aired on PBS. And, I've just completed a novel about a school shooting. I write under two names, Penny Perry and Kate Harding.

Photo credit: Peggy Cadigan via a Creative Commons license.