The Best Literary Writing About Mothers and Motherhood

The Naming by E.J. Antonio

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My name is winter hanging on the hem of spring
A mandarin red
My mother’s name is long road blues
A scattered red
My father’s name is twisted psalm
A gospel / not red
I come from a shouting / called people
Remember me

My name is burnt leaf curled dish water gossip
A clownfish orange
My mother’s name is halo stained glass
A melted pottery glaze orange
My father’s name is aperture lost breath
A blue cry flamed orange
I come from a distilled / leather-skinned people
Remember me

My name is scream-choking chicken
A wildflower yarrow
My mother’s name is milkweed bitters
A windblown field-holler yellow
My father’s name is past its prime tobacco leaf
A moldy yellow
I come from an infinite / interrupted people
Remember me

My name is lint ball and empty mouth
A hardship green
My mother’s name is one and a half-job
A history repeated green
My father’s name is coal mine and plow
A hard earth green
I come from rich soil / traveling people
Remember me

My name is splayed rose
A barren harvest blue
My mother’s name is spent lily
A tissue thin blue
My father’s name is felled oak
Axe swinging blues
I come from a seasoned / brine-soaked people
Remember me

My name is lightning in maple bark
A strenuous indigo
My mother’s name is canna lily and ivy
A curled indigo
My father’s name is forge and anvil
A braided indigo
I come from a thunderous / cavernous people
Remember me

My name is dimple creek
A sweet violet
My mother’s name is willow branch
A sturdy soft violet
My father’s name is in the beginning
A volcanic violet
I come from a tolerant / exacting people
Remember me


EJ AntonioE.J. Antonio is a 2009 fellow in Poetry from the New York Foundation for the Arts and a recipient of fellowships from the Hurston/Wright Foundation and the Cave Canem Foundation. She is the author of two chapbooks, Every Child Knows; Premier Poets Chapbook Series 2007, Solstice, Red Glass Books, 2013. Her debut CD, Rituals in the marrow: Recipe for a jam session was released in the fall of 2010. – www.ejantoniobluez.net

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