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Samika and her mother Sharmila Kumar

Turquoise wrinkles in the water
Form circles atop the rising tides.
I learned to swim from my mama,
Green ripples remind me of her eyes.

A mother duck floats in the current,
It’s time her ducklings take a dive.
I learned to stand, to walk, to run, then
My mama taught me how to drive.

One duckling skitters out in hope.
He’ll never guess how deep is the sea.
I skied my first Black Diamond slope,
My mama took me accidentally!

Ducklings race and splash and spray
Despite their mother’s cautioning quacks.
Dive and hide and coo and play,
Does Mother know if they’ll come back?

My mama instilled in me passion and grit,
She told me (too much!), “Be brave and be bold.”
I strive still to match her charisma and wit,
But her words — and love — are etched in my bones.

Strangely calm and alone, Mother Duck drifts by;
Does she worry where her tots go?
In the distance sound tweets, and then I realize
She taught them how to come back home.

Happy Mother’s Day to you and  Anantharam Kausalya!
Poem inspired by this video I took at Lake Geneva

By Samika Kumar

Samika is a student at University of California Berkeley and a resident of Saratoga California.

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