All posts filed under: Highlight

Seventeen

He was three months shy of turning seventeen when he shifted his weight, puffed up his chest and resisted my demands. When he sized me up, decided he was done with me, with the hole in his heart, the feeling of instability, with my ever-present absence. His golden-brown eyes ablaze—a tsunami of rage. His need? An ocean I wasn’t always willing to swim in.  I complained about something like the garbage or dishes or a coasterless cup on his brand new dresser. I’m not sure which one was worse, me running my mouth in front of the damn TV while he played his video game, or my being all up in his face commanding he look at me when I talked to him. His fingers clicked away at the PS4 controller, his head bobbed and weaved trying to get Call of Duty back within view. “Ma, come on man. Get the fuck out of my room!” he snapped.  My head swung around in disbelief. My heart sank. “What the fuck did you just say to …

Us

One of the nurses was surprised to see me. You’re walking around? God Bless you! Sat with my son in the rocking chair. Caressed his skin, his fists, his feet. Searched for, and found, me, in the curve of his eyes. His pale skin had undertones of yellow, like the inside of a chestnut. Surveyed the beds of his fingernails, to guess how brown he would become– a dark cashew. Could not afford the naming ceremony with family and friends I wanted. In that rocking chair, in the crook of my left arm, with no one paying us attention, I whispered his name in his right ear three times: Kwabena: Son born on a Tuesday Khari: kingly Ngozi: blessing Knowing his first name would be mangled by many tongues, I chose his second name to be first on the birth certificate. Sang him Bob Marley’s “Three Little Birds” until he fell asleep. Thanks for reading! If you enjoy Raising Mothers, please consider making a one-time or recurring contribution to help us remain ad-free. If even …

Photo by Serrah Galos on Unsplash

What a Pretty Little Girl

What a Pretty Little Girl What a pretty little girl, can I touch her hair? Pinch her cheeks?  Kiss her head? Can I hold her? Kiss her tummy? Make her laugh? Fingers tickle. it never ends In the bathroom stall. On the playground. In the yard. The water park. Behind the slide. Fingers fiddle. less polite In the pool, held under water, as grown-ups talk stopped on a walk, say hello; swooped on his lap leg pushed & pressed on something hard as they chat. But when momma asks, has anyone touched you there? Trapped in momma’s stare  the pretty little girl is confused because every time  she was there.   Thanks for reading! If you enjoy Raising Mothers, please consider making a one-time or recurring contribution to help us remain ad-free. If even a fraction of subscribers signed up to contribute $1 per month, Raising Mothers could be self-sustaining!  

Screams

          It was the kind of scream that ripped into my eardrum. The kind that a mom couldn’t ignore, even if it wasn’t her baby.           This day the scream made me uncurl my feet from under my covers, place my soles—worn from six hours of teaching—onto the floor. My phone tumbled down, closing the screen on stories of George Floyd screaming, while several other humans didn’t care enough about breath or life or screams to do anything.           I smacked my bare feet onto our wooden floor so hard the sound could have alerted them I was coming. It didn’t.           I found Lia with her therapist’s arm pinned around her chest, holding her from behind as she screamed to get free. Lia’s back bucked; her teeth clenched. My jaw flung open.            “I have to do this,” her therapist said, “because she keeps kicking Monica.” Monica tugged her cornrows behind a shoulder and stacked the bingo pieces.           I pulled my daughter from under the therapist’s arm, wondering what Ms. Floyd would have …

Photo by J W on Unsplash

She Know (Free Verse)

She Know (Free Verse) “I don’t know, lil sis. It’s like…I can’t be happy. I can’t be sad. I can’t be joyful. I can’t be mad. I can’t be sleepy. I can’t be tired. I can’t be glad. I can’t be disappointed. I can’t be excited. I can’t be upset. I can’t be opinionated. I can’t be silent. I can’t be submissive. I can’t be secretive. I can’t be domineering. I can’t be docile. I can’t be aggressive. I can’t be timid. I can’t be angry. I can’t be soft. I can’t be sexy. I can’t be prudish. I can’t be feminine. I can’t be authoritative. I can’t be masculine. I can’t be promiscuous. I can’t be reserved. I can’t be ghetto. I can’t be suspicious. I can’t be bougie. I can’t be conceited. I can’t be confident. I can’t be insecure. I can’t be unsure. I can’t be unique. I can’t be fake. I can’t be straight-forward. I can’t be quiet. I can’t be monotone. I can’t be flamboyant. I can’t be loud. I …