Would I love my daughter
stubborn girl
dip her father’s knuckled hands into mulch
palms raw from the scrapes she got as she dug
in our backyard, planting
apple seeds
would my eyes rest over the bump
in her nose as it turned
Up toward the sky with faith
in fertile earth

Today, rivers swell
past their banks
to the barn door and low branches

To the opened mouths and sodden lungs
Today, the Midwest is underwater

Would I love
my daughter
enough to watch
her saplings drown

Stubborn girl will be born
despite the poison in her blood
Her first breath will puncture
plastic membrane
she will choke on ash

She will turn her eyes to the ground
and speak to me

“You blink your eyes at the signs
in suns and moons. Your cheeks turn at the distress of nations, and your womb water boils. The
powers of heaven
are shaken and what good
are your gardens
now?”


Emma Austin Stein is a sophomore studying Social and Environmental Policy. She is from Evanston, IL and Gigios was her first solid food.