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With My Eyes Closed

I need to remind myself that Mama is human, that she is not endless love, and food, and sacrifice. But she makes it hard to do. When I tell you I was raised Catholic, I mean I was raised by Mama: a

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Couslings: A 23andMe story

“Have you considered writing a book about your life?” It is likely someone has asked you this question, or maybe you have asked someone. Before my ancestry journey, I never thought of my life as interesting enough to manifest into spilled ink,

Granny & Lucille

Today is our long day. We need to drive nearly 200 miles to cross state lines. Mom and I take shifts, plying the other with an endless stream of gritty Community Coffee and sleeves of Donette’s. I notice the minute we cross

What the Hell is Regular Black?

“You real fine and you pretty,” the smooth words rolled past his toothpaste commercial level white teeth and thick coffee bean shade lips. Before a girlish smile could plaster itself on my face, he added, “but you ain’t like, regular Black.” “What

My Inheritance: A Quilt I Must Stitch

“I’m sorry for your loss. Though the coroner’s report said your father departed on June 29th, July 1 (2005) will be the official date of death because that’s when he was found,” the funeral director started. We nodded. He continued ungracefully, unbefitting

 Love, Peace, and Hair Grease

When I was surrounded by white people, knee-length plaid skirts, and crucifixes, I told my mom I wanted my hair to look like theirs—soft and brown and easy to manage. She always told me my hair was special because that was the

Were Fairytales Meant for Us?

Quickly and carefully, I crossed the street with my best friend at the time. Her name was Jalia, a tall and skinny girl I’d skip class with to play Nintendo between the tiled bathroom walls. Jalia was an older sister I never

Once A Mother

I watched from my seat in the sparsely populated bleachers as the swimmers began to assemble for the first race. Underlying the smell of chlorine was a sense of restrained excitement and perhaps a bit of nervousness among competitors and audience alike.

I Used to Love Myself

I don’t remember how old I was when my parents bought the brown metallic closet with the mirror on the front, but its presence in our home goes back as far as my memory of self does. I don’t think I paid

Namesake

I climbed the stairs to Aunt Tee’s apartment. The hallway was dark but the semi-opened blinds let in a hint of sunlight on the second-floor landing. The burgundy carpet was clean, other than a tennis ball-sized stain in front of the door

If We Could Talk

I remember the time you left your phone at home in our first apartment. It was an old loft close to campus. It was raggedy, the stove was too small, and mildew stained the grout in the bathroom. It was our first