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motherhood

Reaper Madness

When your four-year-old begins talking incessantly about death, there are a few tactics for dealing with it. One is curiosity. Why do you want to die? Why do you hope you die today? Why do you love to die? Why do you want to kill yourself? The four-year-old doesn’t know what death is, not really, and so he cannot truly answer the question.

Creation Myth

I’m without body but forming in the latticework 

of blood cell and fret. Each threat pulls me upward

tempting and building me until my spine lifts into a column,

Arch of Hysteria

I want my web to hold. I want to repair
what I have made. I was not given the gold hive.
In me seethes the silk of invisible worlds. Spinning
my body inside of hairline emptiness, I project

Slack

When this story ended—or when it began, because who on June Plum Road could tell the difference?—the mermaids were floating at the top of Old Henry’s tank. The green hair of one and the pink hair of the other fanned out on the water’s surface, silky straight hair, and the sparkles in their tails caught the afternoon light. Old Henry laughed when he saw the dolls in his tank, a laugh he would later regret. Because when he looked beyond the mermaids, his eyes made out two forms, the little girls, beneath the water’s surface. 

And the mother would go mad when she heard, at least for a while, sitting on the steps in front of her house, legs wide, without panties. A shame a man passing by was the one to call out to let her know. Her people would send for her. News would travel back that she’s now cleaning for white people in New York. Many on June Plum Road wouldn’t know what to do with this information but to wonder if she remembers to wear panties. 

<i>Double Bind: Women on Ambition</i>. Ed. by Robin Romm. Liveright, 2017. HB, 336p. $27.95.

Bound to Succeed

I once asked my mother, a well-educated, exceedingly competent woman, why she served as someone’s assistant for the majority of her professional life, yet always took a leadership role in volunteer organizations (president of the PTA and director of nearly every church committee on which she’s ever served, for example). Her response was unequivocal: “Your grandmother always told me that I would never be anything other than a secretary.” Mothers—“They fuck you up,” Philip Larkin wrote. “They may not mean to, but they do.”

Notes on Selling One’s Identity

November 16, 2012

When my son was five months old, my friend Stephanie and I decided to start a magazine about motherhood. I was living then in a town that was known, in equal parts, for its college and for its poultry processing plants (and a little bit for its bus [...]

The Cutting Place

She’s always been a tomboy, Mama Vic says, Mouthy.
Runnin’ the roads. Not comin’ home, and as she speaks

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