Leaving Home

by Sade Collier

It is seven o’clock in the evening and my mother

drops a half-chopped onion into a pot of stew,

turning the entire kitchen into a mess of steam. I

eye my dusted copy of Beloved hoarding the countertop,

and a teardrop falls from hers, wandering aimlessly

to the floorboard that creaks beneath her feet.

 

Mothers―

such fragile things. Her baby is leaving soon,

carried by the same winds she curses

in her rocking chair. A news headline reads:

Local Teen Found Dead At University, Police Report.

She wants to engulf her child all sheaf-bound, reap

the very roots she planted, create a vase out of grief;

mold her womb-fresh and milk-stinked once more.

 

Birds beat their wings to the pale sky burned

into a rusty-umberic memory, then flatter gently

against the kitchen window. The floorboards,

sixteen-year-old safety harness, turn nearly prismatic,

disorienting mess, and shatter into pieces. The mother,

once a vetereaned onion-chopper, bats her eyes genteel

as though she has to hold the world

with them. Her hand, its calloused creases released

from the grip on the knife, fall limp

against her night dress. Oh,

 

what children we make out of our mothers.

About the Author

Sade has previously written for Affinity Magazine and has been published in the Huffington Post.