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By Tami Haaland

She’s with Grandma in front

of Grandma’s house, backed

by a willow tree, gladiola and roses.


Who did she ever want

to please? But Grandma

seems half-pleased and annoyed.


No doubt Mother frowns

behind the lens, wants

to straighten this sassy face.


Maybe laughs, too.

Little girl with her mouth wide,

tongue out, yelling


at the camera. See her little

white purse full of treasure,

her white sandals?


She has things to do,

you can tell. Places to explore

beyond the frame,


and these women picking flowers

and taking pictures.

Why won’t they let her go?


“Little Girl” from When We Wake in the Night, by Tami Haaland, ©2012 WordTech Editions, Cincinnati, Ohio. Poem reprinted by permission of Tami Haaland and the publisher.

Poet Bio

Tami Haaland
Tami Haaland teaches creative writing at Montana State University Billings. She won the Nicholas Roerich Poetry Prize for her first book of poems, "Breath in Every Room" (Story Line Press, 2001). In 2013, she was named Montana's poet laureate. See More By This Poet