For her birthday I paint

a watercolour copy of ‘Flowers

of Three Different Varieties of Pansy

(Viola Species)’ c. 1835,

an engraving by J & J Parkin.

I worry I’ve forgotten the fine ink

around the petals, then look

at the real viola outside

and see it exists without outline.

My mother and I speak now

mostly via pictures of plants—

the honeyeater hangs

upside down in the swan

river pea, a lot like a tūī.

I’ve tattooed a mutabilis

rose on my shoulder should

the garden ever go. But home

is where you sow seeds and wait

to see what emerges. That is what

my mother taught me without words.