Author: Julia Mallory

My Mother Told Me This Would Be Hard

My Mother Told Me This Would Be Hard the only way my child will sleep is holding a toy dump truck it’s wood, and that makes me a good mother sorts shapes too, and i limit the time he spends delighting at a green frog and a purple penguin  i whisper small promises read about an ice cream-eating caterpillar about the wheedle on the needle about a bunny named nicholas i sing dreams and big wishes into bob dylan lyrics thinking maybe he’ll ask me to dance with him if it plays one day at his wedding one day i try to teach him words my mother taught me tell him his dadu’s adrak chai was without rivals  and haldi will stain everything yellow but i have forgotten how to say i am sorry for insisting on lunchables for shaming you when you packed parathas rolled with love in the early morning for calling them gross weird               unamerican the only way my child will sleep is holding a small american flag he waves it …

tender ~ a black boy song (for Jordan & Nicholas)

  tender ~ a black boy song (for Jordan & Nicholas)  my two suns are light and joy and black brilliance sometimes my youngest son is all teen talkback my oldest, all queer young adult swag together they be black boy magic my sons be black boy magic they quote baldwin & lorde & lawd how they still shine in amerika even when they argue, they have each others backs in our house boys can cry or dye their hair color of the rainbow our home is a rainbow, our boys are a house filled with love our teen asked his big brother how to shave his newly grown pandemic beard last night his big brother surprised him with his first beard trimmer set lovingly showed his younger brother how to shave for the first time first to wet his face, then spread shaving cream and gently guide the blade without cutting himself they root for each other, like nobody’s business they been marching together for pride and black lives since they could walk our …

i still can’t breathe, a ghazal for amerika

    i still can’t breathe, a ghazal for amerika  everyday folks risk their lives marching for freedom rage makes us forget our biggest fears  american cities have sheltered-in for months on end folks hide behind masks, while a pandemic exposes secret fears in our home, my family speaks their names and honors their legacy Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd; we can never imagine your final fears last night, i dreamt my two sons finally lived in a safe world and smiled i woke remembering my babies remain target; tried to exhale these mama fears our family has had “black boy in amerika” conversations with our sons since they were seven did learning about Trayvon Martin at such a young age, teach them how to fear? my heart grows heavy, yet i hold onto legacy of my family marching for freedom Juliet, keep your voice raised and your head held high, fuck all this talk of fear! __ JP Howard is an educator, literary activist, curator and community builder. Her debut poetry collection, SAY/MIRROR (The Operating System), was …

Loose Change

Loose Change On Saturdays when I was ten, I fished through my mother’s dirty work pants pockets and between the sofa cushions for change. When she went to sleep, I’d slip out to the market on the corner of 125th & St. Nicholas—spend all of it on penny shortbread cookies with the jelly center. Mr. Stewart expected me each week. He handed me a little brown paper bag and said, How many today, honey? With my own hands, he let me count the cookies out of the huge plastic jar. If I had enough for one hundred, he always gave me A dozen more for free. Grinning, I grabbed the overflowing top of the greasy brown bag and skip out stuffing cookies two by two into my mouth. This time, when I got to the apartment door I found my mother standing there, face flushed—a mix of fury and fear. The greasy bag fell from my hand onto the floor like a heavy burden I’d been carrying my whole life.  She hustled me into the …

Back in the Red (Stick)

Back in the Red (Stick) After a decade she’d had enough. Broke and broken she bore a pathway through the slums of New York city headed south in search of familiar— a more genteel way to raise two daughters one that offered more trees and fewer take-out menus, more grass and fewer guns, more gifts than griefs. But, in all, her leaving only traded pissy projects for rural city red lining. Once in it, she decided she would have to mother from there— plant their roots in the fruitless dirt, pluck the burs from and prune their cantankerous hair… And every morning she would water, and at night, lay, her watchful eyes upon them like the fullest moon then wait patiently, till their ever afters fought their way to bloom.    __ Jacquelyn Grant Brown is black. human. mom.  survivor. magician. yaya. healer. peacemaker. wordsmith. creative. student. teacher. traveler…  She received the following degrees: B.S. Louisiana State University/English; M.A. Solstice @ Pine Manor College/Creative Writing.  Other published work by Jacquelyn can be found in The Rumpus, Rat’s Ass Review, African …