Tickle Proof Sharks


If I had fins, I could swim
as sharks do, with a ripple
of my muscled back,
eyes open, never sleeping.
I’d never brush my teeth,
I’d grow new ones.
I’d smell my brothers coming
and swim the other way.
Even if they caught up,
my diamond-tooth skin
would be tickle proof.
I wouldn’t have to walk
down dark hallways,
my way would be lit
by phosphorescent fish.
I’d never have to sleep
alone in my room
with only a bear.
I’d stay on the move,
snacking between meals
whenever I choose.
Mom busses my cheek
and tucks me in.
My mouth tastes minty.
Bing-Bong, my bear,
fits into my elbow,
just right.
Sharks can’t dream
if they never sleep.
I wonder what
I’ll dream tonight.
I’ll be a shark in the sea!
I’m glad I’m me.

Copyright 2016 Brenda Davis Harsham

Note: For all the people who long to be sharks, may you swim in dreamland tonight. This poem is also for the kids’ literature folks at Poetry Friday. Thanks to this week’s host, Catherine, a talented teacher and poet, at Reading to the Core. Michelle Heidenrich Barnes at Today’s Little Ditty published a wonderful collection of poetry about nothing, and she even included a poem of mine that doesn’t appear on this website. If you want to submit your poem about nothing, you can visit her site for details. She enters all participants and commenters to win an autographed book, too!

Poetry Friday with kids

Dragon Spines

Coleus leaves

In my mind’s eye, I see them fly:
Spiny leaves become dragons on high.
They chase my dreams in the moonlight
Following dust devils up out of sight.
Day comes, catching them in the sky.
They sleep like puppies, and so do I.

Copyright 2014 Brenda Davis Harsham


Japanese Garden Magic

Japanese Tea Garden, San Francisco, California


Magic hides in the quiet spaces:
Weights lift in the greening.*
Tree branches and bark take shapes
In the corner of the eye;
Lights flicker like fairies dancing.
A turned head, and the magic’s gone.
An arched bridge holds infinite
Possibilities for revealing
Secrets, just over the crest.
Only children can climb it.
Invite the magic to sup jasmine tea
And nibble an almond sweet,
And soon the whole day seems a dream.

Copyright 2014 Brenda Davis Harsham

* Note: This use of “greening” is meant to refer to the process of feeling younger in a garden, feeling the years drop away and spirits lift. Greening can be defined as the return to youthful characteristics.

Dreaming in Cherry Blossoms


Rain patters on the roof,
While the cardinal calls:
“Birdie, birdie, birdie, birdie.”
My eyes drift closed, heavy
With disappointment at the cold,
Wet spring and the absent sun.


Azaleas flame in raspberry bursts.
The weeping cherry cries amber tears
Of swollen pollen from pale pink blossoms,
Sunshine heats the wet sidewalk,
And it breathes steamy sighs.
A mist curls up toward the blossoms.


In my dream, my two arms multiply,
Turning to wings, to feathers, to thin limbs:
To an infant, a new weeping cherry.
My long arms tremble in air currents.
The cardinal lands on my highest shoulder
Calling “Birdie, birdie,” red crest proud.


I hear again the sound of the rain,
My dry roots yearn toward the nectar
Shared by clouds, whispering of oceans.
I awake stretching my legs,
Moving freely, but stiff and cold;
Blossoms, an afterimage, on my closed eyes.

Copyright 2014 Brenda Davis Harsham

Note: Inspired by Michelle Marie, who was longing to see cherry blossoms.
These photographs are from last spring.