The Best Literary Writing About Mothers and Motherhood

Geography of the Changing Body – Tresses by E.J. Antonio

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In the crisp clear air of winter nipping at autumn’s backside, the neighbor’s persimmon tree stands two and a half stories tall. Its canopy naked of leaves, reshaped by the drag of its fruit: tear- and globe-shaped shocks of waxen orange gloss tethered to white branches, frescoed on a blue sky, refusing to fall to the ground as easily as my silver-gray hair cascades into the brush. A shocking sight the thin mat entwined in the dark bristles. Curious about these thin roadmaps of everything I was; I pull; finger a strand; feel the waffling of it; crinkly kink of it; knotted follicle of it; easy snap of it, my aging mane brittle as fallen leaves. It is a struggle to accept this revision from indestructible rich dark-brown widow’s peaks to a slowly fading steel-gray, its fragile texture quickly receding into time. Can I ask god to give me back my 40s mane? Will he deem me ungrateful and lop off a future year? I brave the unknown; boldly speak it to the universe only to hear the wind’s resistance to accept such questions as the words re-root in my mouth; pull me back to the immediate past before I spoke them. Disgruntled, I reluctantly accept this visible badge of survival. Still, in the crisp morning air of autumn’s breeze undoing my carefully combed wind-swept do, I stand transfixed on my lawn gazing up at the blood-orange moon-shaped orbs wishing my hair could inherit the fruit’s stubbornness. At least…stop falling as my seasons change. Let me be like the tree: an elegant fresco on the blue sky.

 


E.J. Antonio is a recipient of fellowships from the Hurston/Wright Foundation, the Cave Canem Foundation and the New York Foundation for the Arts. She is the author of two chapbooks, Every Child Knows, (Premier Poets Chapbook Series 2007) and Solstice, (Red Glass Books, 2013), and a CD, Rituals in the marrow: Recipe for a jam session.www.ejantoniobluez.net


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