Literary Mama writing about the many faces of motherhood

I’m the first to credit the instructor for her patience in working with me, but the real key to my (perceived) success is the simple fact that I added the word “Transform” to my calendar. Every week, those nine letters encourage, challenge, and keep me humble.
The same could be said about reading and writing. Do these activities fill specific slots on your calendar?

They would’ve worn silk kimonos if they were older. Instead, they wear barrettes, the color of pearl, the silver clasps cleaned with toothpaste by Jun’s mother…

What noise
do people lacking water make? And what
department does airborne radioactive dust
most offend? The eyes? The throat? The lung? And what
do living bodies look like in a fire?
Loaves of bread settling? Do they curl in like a fetus?
Straighten like a vein? Do they turn
orange or pink or blue? I don’t know but
these boys do.

Track marks from you grew over the globe
of my belly, my buttocks and the
pale skin of my thighs, your journey
mapped out for me to trace each epic
month. And I was so big I thought I
must be carrying the moon. No, not
just the moon, but the sun, the planets,
the stars and the whole universe with
the dark spaces in between.


There is no heroic rescue at sea here, at least not from the child's point of view. There is only what needs to be done to help a child, doing our best, and hoping nobody hates us for it.

The baby is awake again. He's hungry. You feed him, only wincing a little this time. You remind yourself that this is beautiful.


Maybe the kingfisher has already signaled that her time has come, and I'm holding on to a future that's destined to slip away.

I pick up the crumpled note to my mother and unfold it. I used to write letters to her all the time when Benji was a baby.


They would’ve worn silk kimonos if they were older. Instead, they wear barrettes, the color of pearl, the silver clasps cleaned with toothpaste by Jun’s mother...

In telling stories to my children, I am participating in a ritual thousands of years old


We're looking at food with this month's Literary Mama staff reading recommendations.

Hunger, bright orange—a burning sun / needs constant fuel to stoke its flames / —but not as bright as pain, white-hot ...


Because you stayed silent you took / the newborn child, downy and slick, / soaked with her mother’s rage, / howling with your daughter’s grief, / you took her as yours


May you never know the heartache / of mothering a child with mental illness / the breath-stopping anticipation of the next phone call / the debilitating exhaustion / of fending off her demons


Because memory swims in the cells / of the body and not in the soul / or the mind or the dark pool of / the eye, my body gave way for yours.


Lord, please. I can see nothing / farther from divinity / than the wars of men / where every god is made / to serve the grave / agenda.

Kraft discusses the unique possibilities of the graphic novel and how her journalism is activism.


Lefler muses about comedic influences, offers advice on finding one's voice, and shares why giving back is important to her.

When I started reading If Mom's Happy, I sent my kid to school, called in sick, and sexted a filthy message to my baby's daddy.


Throughout Hagar Poems Mohja Kahf speaks through several female characters from the Quran, juxtaposing sacred ancient stories with contemporary settings and chatty dialogues.