Literary Mama writing about the many faces of motherhood

There’s a tendency to romanticize old-fashioned correspondence, now that it seems superfluous to modern life, but as a regular practice, it’s not so much a romantic indulgence as a discipline.

A modest stardom, her opera’s at home: / a yam-ham Pampers rhapsody. / Part shopper, mopper, mad horse / stopper, she tames the yard, / shreds the reams, a poet trapped / at Pharaoh’s hamper.

If you’d like to join our celebration of mothers and mothering with some touching or practical reads this month, check out our Essential Reading recommendations.

I doubt she’ll return / the things she’s taken— / a lipstick, tweezers, a necklace. // I’m not too mad, except maybe in the moment— / when I’m in the shower, leg lathered, reach for the razor / I’d left on the lip of the tub.


I sit down next to her on the floor. A strange sense of longing comes over me as I watch this girl who is not yet my daughter. She is very small for her age, this child, but confident and determined. Suddenly I am a stranger to this room in the house where I have lived for almost twenty years.

When I was four, my mother paid me a nickel to memorize the words to her favorite songs. She spoke fluent jazz and swing long before she married my father, a piano player.


I still have hope for smooth transitions. For futures. But I watch uneasily as the calf plops on the ground.

I spend most of my time with the towering trees that Mamma loved so much.

I thought, why not fake being a wise woman?


Check out our Mother's Day reading picks on this month's Essential Reading.

For the mother who rises / in darkness to baby sleep noises / sigh tiny cough exhale little grunt


A modest stardom, her opera's at home: / a yam-ham Pampers rhapsody. / Part shopper, mopper, mad horse / stopper ...


Mama sprinkled sumac on greasy burgers / because fast food smelled like burning tires.


I doubt she'll return / the things she's taken— / a lipstick, tweezers, a necklace.


It took my mother / nine months / to unlearn living, / finally giving in / to the rage of cancers.

I don't think we can run from the past. I'm more interested in running through it. I want to make it my own.


What circumstances would lead a mother to leave her child behind? That was perhaps the more important question I set out to answer in relation to these characters.

The story begins with the angry voice of Manolo and Tala's daughter, Malaya, sketching her mother through the eyes of others: "They whisper that my mother was not one of us, and whatever she was disappeared beneath a pair of wings."