Literary Mama writing about the many faces of motherhood

My mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease almost three years ago, and the time has come for her and my dad to move somewhere safer. So, earlier this month, my two sisters and I met at my parents’ home to …

Your hair comes in with a vengeance. / A tempestuous storm of twists and turns, / Bequeathed by your ancestral medley / Of Cameroon, England, and Barbados. / More hair than I’d ever seen on one little head. / Get that mess under control scold the grandmothers. / I comb and braid and oil. / I detangle, condition, repeat.

Tiny thread of me, secret strand / of my selfish heart. Beautiful unspooling. / My new periphery. Shade trees now / in the field of my vision. / My carved-out ache, my hollowing / night-time mouth. My near- / drowning, my buoyant, / buoyant girl, my surfacing, / my breath, my sudden aerial / view. My half-moon evening, / my life-split.

This is the first time anyone has lodged a complaint against Noah. This is the beginning of our changed life. There will always be people who will be uncomfortable with Noah no matter what choices our family makes.

As we discuss the children we see, the search feels strangely like shopping, and I'm uncomfortable in the feeling even though I know we're here for good reason.

Her voice is calm and steady. "We've had a call from the district office. A parent has filed a complaint."

Years later I will read in the Washington Post that we had done something dangerous. We could have smothered our baby.

Arthur said, "You shouldn't use that word." I confronted the word "ass" plainly in front of us.

We love books and reading! Check out our "Love Story" recommendations in this month's picks.

Tiny thread of me, secret strand / of my selfish heart. Beautiful unspooling. / My new periphery.

I worry my son should be closer / to the rough edges by now / where life rubs against pain …

... You lean / forward, almost on your toes / planted in the gravelly sand, / tentative smile on your face, / ready to race ...

I kiss your sweet bald head. / Resting my cheek on the wispy strands that / Attempt to form a curl.

I mother. / I shoulder / deep hurts and things longed for. / I anger / at anything, broad or horned ...

Zarins discusses her debut novel, a modern adaptation of a classic text.

Sarah Menkedick renders the experience of self-discovery through pregnancy and motherhood with vulnerability, intelligence, and grace.