The Best Literary Writing About Mothers and Motherhood
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Free by Jacqueline Johnson

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In this lingering light       of a late winter      against a coral covered sky.
I have passed forty-two      age my mother was      when she died.

Once so hot headed      I strutted no, left home       tearing
remnants of       my childhood umbilicus to shreds       as I rushed
into life       wearing only the clothes on my back.       Free, finally free!

Multicolored messenger bag        hugging her hips       twice the size of my own.
As I walk out of a movie       a shadowy figure       surges behind me

impatient with my relaxed pace       ear buds blasting        torn up jean wearing.
She is barely polite       as she fidgets behind me       for five floors.

I can feel her desire       to run amongst crowds      in the multiplex.
In this lingering light       of a late winter       against a coral covered sky.

Multicolored messenger bag        hugging her hips       twice the size of my own.
She lunges past       down escalator steps       to bound out the door free!
That giggling girl       woman in the Indian, orange cotton top,      watching me from afar.

I finally release her       instead savor sweetness       enjoy vastness of the view.
I envy her flying feet       cascade of braids       in the evening breeze.

 


Jacqueline Johnson is a multi-disciplined artist creating in both writing and fiber arts.  She is the author of A Woman’s Season, on Main Street Rag Press and A Gathering of Mother Tongues, published by White Pine Press and is the winner of the Third Annual White Pine Press Poetry Award.  Ms. Johnson has received awards from the New York Foundation of the Arts, the Middle Atlantic Writers Association’s Creative Writing Award in poetry, MacDowell Colony for the Arts and is a Cave Canem fellow.  Recent publications include:  Word Peace Journal, The Wide Shore: A Journal of Global Women’s Poetry, Fifth Wednesday Journal, Black Renaissance Noire, pluck! She is a graduate of New York University and the City University of New York.  A native of Philadelphia, PA., she resides in Brooklyn, New York.

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