Author: Sherisa de Groot

Mother Tongue | Cristina Marie Mendoza

My father drives from Des Moines to Chicago amidst a pandemic. It’s been roughly five months since I last saw him and, to be honest, I’ve been terrible at keeping in touch. He arrives on a Friday and if there’s anything you should know about the paternal side of my family it is this: they are terrible at making plans. On more than one occasion my father has woken me up on a Saturday morning to tell me that he got into town late last night and is standing in front of my tiny city apartment. This time I find my father just down the block sitting outside of his childhood home with my grandfather as if it were the most natural thing in the world. We catch up about work, about the new normal, whatever that means. And then he turns to me and asks “¿Como esta el barrio?” checking in on his former home and a community hit hard by the virus.  It’s a seemingly simple gesture, one that any Mexican-American kid would …

Pink and Blue | Al Valentín

On countless Sunday nights at home in Woodhaven, Queens, my Titi Sonia’s fingers moved gracefully. Lifetime movies blared in the background as she and my cousin Lisette sat on their white leather couch. File in hand, swaying back and forth like hips, Titi Sonia shaped her long nails, squared at the tip. Sometimes orange. Mostly pink. I never saw Titi paint her nails firsthand, but they were more than memorable—symbols of beauty and strength. Her talons declared she was no nonsense, and they didn’t lie. At work, Titi was known for getting shit done and making sure you knew not to try her. Men fell in love with her wherever she went. She couldn’t care less. She was unabashedly herself, unashamed and unbothered. She was a rare thing, a beautiful thing.  The pink inspired by her nails and her favorite lipstick emblazons my shoulder, etched with ink to form hydrangea—flowers that grew in front of the old brick house she bought for herself and Lisette in Richmond Hill. Years later, my tia found herself in …

The Protagonist was a Black Girl | Tzynya Pinchback

I stopped on the second-floor landing. Housekeys, three plastic grocery bags, and my seven-year-old’s fingernails boring into my right hand. There was a yellow envelope tacked to my apartment door. “Do we get to use the hurricane lamps again, Mom?” “Maybe, sweetheart.” I stuffed the envelope in my pocket, unlocked the door, and was surprised to see the green power button on my computer glowing under my desk in the living room. We had electricity, at least for the night.  “You put away the low-shelf stuff and I’ll put away the tall-shelf stuff, okay?”  “I can put away the middle-shelf stuff, too,” she said. “If I’m allowed to wear my snow boots in the kitchen?” “Deal, but what’s the rule?” “Nobody but Mommy touches anything on the tall shelf.”  I called the utility company and was directed to the financial department. “And what is your reason for requesting an extension?” I explained the child support was months late, and half the earnings from my $12 an hour administrative day job and freelance writing side hustle …

How Systemic Racism Dismantled My Mommy Group | Dawn White

Content Warning: Sexual Assault It all began when we were asked to help pay for a mommy’s housekeeper and nanny. And it climaxed when Kobe Bryant died.  For those unfamiliar with Facebook Mommy Groups, first let me set up some framework for you. There exists a world of private regional online support in the shape of Facebook groups for mommies. These groups were started by a mom and grew through invitations to other women within their network. The groups all claim to offer support in a safe space where women can commiserate about motherhood, seek advice and referrals, and discuss lifestyle questions. Topics range from sleep training to real estate and pop culture events. Whether the group has 200 or 1,000 members, the rules are almost always the same:  Rule #1. What you post is sacred, meaning what goes on in Mommy Group stays in Mommy Group. Just by writing this, I’m breaking Rule #1. Rule #2 The tone of the group must remain respectful and judgment free. While I’m at it, lemme just go …

to the ghosts at sea, give her back | Noemi Ixchel Martinez

From the collection “to the ghosts at sea, giver her back” I’ve been trying to write myself out/ write myself out of my exploding chest/of that hospital room/I’ve been trying to write myself out of that/chest where I’m shakingshaking/wakeupwakeupwakethe fuckup/I’m falling deep/ that cave/ that chest /that hole/ breathingnotbreathing/ the machines tick tock tick tick tick tock/ goes by /I’m still there To the ghosts at sea/ give her back/ to the witches that are guiding her/ bring her back / she’s still mine / to the oceans that took her / home is here To the doctor who asked if we had guns in the house we are the other/ in america/ in the other america / watching sidelines/ brown faces/ glossies cover us in gauze and quote/ snap we are in the news coverage / go on, show me figurines of spacecrafts on a screen/ planets blooming stars of her brain / no, no guns, no, no silent alarms / no You might ask urself why I wrote u into this poem Why …