“Then [Noah] sent out a raven, which kept going to and fro until the waters had dried up from the earth.” Genesis 8:7 As a child, I wanted to change my name. This desire was not particularly novel; children sometimes want to
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
I was ten years old when I first witnessed domestic violence. It was a hot summer day on Hobart street. Children were playing; adults were sitting on their steps and porches just watching the day go by as we often did. Suddenly
“If I didn’t define myself for myself, I would be crunched into other people’s fantasies for me and eaten alive.” — Audre Lorde Dear Amaya, I waited so long for you. Well before your mother told me she was pregnant, I
“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,
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
“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
“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
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
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
My mother’s eyes are bulging, glassy and wild, almost spinning in their sockets with fear. Her cracked lips are pulled back from her teeth, which snap viciously. She is warning an invisible opponent of her bite. Her face is waxy and becomes
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 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
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
“I love your hair. You did it yourself?” “Aww, thank you. I wish. I can’t cornrow.” “Wait, you’re a little Black girl and you don’t know how to cornrow?” Correction: I’m a whole 30-something Black woman who doesn’t know how to cornrow.
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