I am writing to go back to the time, at the rest stop in Virginia, when you stared, horror-struck, at the taxidermy buck hanging over the soda machine by the rest rooms, your face darkened by its antlers. In the car, you kept shaking your head. A corpse should move on, not stay forever like that.
Mom is on Tinder.
The war you lived through is long gone, but its ricochets have become taxidermy, enclosed by your own familiar flesh. Somewhere over Michigan, a colony of monarch butterflies, numbering more than fifteen thousand, are beginning their yearly migration south. In the span of two months, from September to November, they will move, one wing beat at a time, from southern Canada and the United States to portions of central Mexico, where they will spend the winter. They perch among us, on chain-link fences, clotheslines still blurred from the just-hung weight of clothes, windowsills, the hood of a faded-blue Chevy, their wings folding slowly, as if being put away, before snapping once, into flight.
It only takes a single night of frost to kill off an entire generation. To live, then, is a matter of time, of timing. I am writing because they told me to never start a sentence with because. That time when I was five or six and, playing a prank, leapt out at you from behind the hallway door, shouting Boom! You screamed, face raked and twisted, then burst into sobs, clutching your chest as you leaned against the door, gasping. I stood, confused, my toy Army helmet tilted on my head.
I was an American boy parroting what I saw on TV. That time, in third grade, with the help of Mrs. Callahan, my E. In the story, a girl and her grandmother spot a storm brewing on the green horizon.
But, instead of shuttering the windows or nailing boards on the doors, they set out to bake a cake. I was struck by this curious act, its precarious refusal of convention. As Mrs. Callahan stood behind me, her mouth at my ear, her hand on my hand, the story unfurled, the storm rolled in as she spoke, then once more as I repeated the words. The first time you hit me, I must have been four.
A hand, a flash, a reckoning. My mouth a blaze of touch. The time I tried to teach you to read the way Mrs. Callahan taught me, my lips to your ear, my hand on yours, the words moving underneath the shadows we made. But that act a son teaching his mother reversed our hierarchies, and with it our identities, which, in this country, were already tenuous and tethered.
After a while, after the stutters, the false starts, the words warped or locked in your throat, after failure, you slammed the book shut. Then the time you hit me with the remote control. A bruise I would lie about to my teachers.
I fell playing tag. That time, at forty-six, when you had a sudden desire to color. I need coloring books. Magenta, vermillion, marigold, pewter, juniper, cinnamon. Each day, for hours, you slumped over landscapes of farms, pastures, Paris, two horses on a windswept plain, the face of a girl with black hair and skin you left blank, left white. You hung them all over the house, which started to look like an elementary-school classroom. When I asked you, Why coloring, why now?
Have you ever made a scene, you said, filling in a Thomas Kinkade house, and then put yourself inside it? Have you ever watched yourself from behind, going deeper and deeper into that landscape, away from you? How could I tell you that what you were describing was writing? How could I say that we, after all, are so close, the shadows of our hands merging on the page?
Grab your coat. Head throbbing, I dipped chicken tenders in ketchup as you watched. You have to get bigger and stronger, O. The first time you came to my poetry reading. After, while the room stood and clapped, I walked back to my seat beside you. Some people dressed up to go to church or dinner parties; we dressed to go to a commercial center off an interstate. Then you would kneel and smear a handful of pomade through my hair, comb it over. The time with your fists, shouting in the parking lot, the bright sun etching your hair red. My arms shielding my head and face as your knuckles thunked around me.
Our hands empty except for our hands. Out my window this morning, just before sunrise, a deer stood in a fog so dense and bright that the second one, not too far away, looked like the unfinished shadow of the first. Migration can be triggered by the angle of sunlight, indicating a change in season, temperature, plant life, and nourishment.
Female monarchs lay eggs along the route. Every history has more than one thread, each thread a story of division. The journey takes four thousand eight hundred and thirty miles, or the length of this country. The monarchs that fly south will not make it back north. Each departure, then, is final. Only their children return; only the future revisits the past.
That time at the Chinese butcher, you pointed to the roasted pig hanging from its hook. You let out a clipped chuckle, then paused, took out your pocketbook, your brow pinched, and recounted our money. The time with a gallon of milk. A shattering on the side of my head, then the steady white rain on the kitchen tiles.
The time at Six Flags, when you rode the Superman roller coaster with me because I was too scared to do it alone. How you threw up for hours afterward. How, in my screeching joy, I forgot to say thank you. The time we went to Goodwill and piled the cart with items that had a yellow tag, because on that day a yellow tag meant an additional fifty per cent off.
I pushed the cart and leaped on the back bar, gliding, feeling rich with our bounty of discarded treasures. It was your birthday. We were splurging.
My Mother Essay |10 Lines, Short Essays & Paragraph
Do I look like a real American? I nodded, grinning. The cart was so full by then I no longer saw what was ahead of me.
The time with the kitchen knife—the one you picked up, then put down, shaking, saying, Get out. Get out. And I ran out the door, down the black summer streets. I ran until I forgot I was ten, until my heartbeat was all I could remember of my name.
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The time, in New York City, a week after uncle Phuong died, I stepped onto the uptown 2 train and saw his face, clear and round as the doors opened, looking right at me, alive. I gasped—but knew better, that it was only a man who resembled him. Analysis by Lydia Marouf. Palestine Advocacy Project P. The Palestine Advocacy Project advocates for the rights of Palestine and Palestinians by educating on the human rights issues impacting Palestine.
The Palestine Advocacy Project seeks individuals support to volunteer or donate to help us advocate for Palestinians. The Palestine Advocacy Project appreciates any support you can offer. Childhood is raised in me, Day upon day in me. Translated by A. Mahmoud Darwish was an award-winning Palestinian author and poet.
His literature, particularly his poetry, created a sense of Palestinian identity and was used to resist the occupation of his homeland. In the second stanza, the imprisoned Darwish asks his mother for protection and uses words that are associated with concealment to articulate his need for her, as seen in the following lines: Take me, if I come back one day As a scarf for your eyelashes And cover my bones with grass In the same stanza, Darwish also suggests that his mother is a saint who can purify him and grant him sanctification from his current dire circumstances: Baptized by the purity of your ankle Pull my shackles.
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