• Jaya Julienne Ashmore

loving mothers


Thank you to all my elderwomen... For the ones who went before, and cared, no matter what. Who knew what they knew, and gave it. Who bet their hearts on this life and how much loving it takes. To my stepmother for being like the sister I never had, asking, always, the questions our family hadn't found permission for, and waffles for supper, knitting and our hiccuping with laughter at your hamburger joke, and tender camellias, and reminding me that doing art every day is like eating. Thank you to Chaya, the only one holding my hand to walk out of the haze of nightmares, real and otherwise, when I was twenty

and I needed

it. Thank you to my step-grandmother Mimi who actually knit bandages for the Red Cross. Kusumji letting me just peel potatoes while she knew all the secret spices. Excusing the little rocks

in the rice, saying out loud, that it was the rice's fault. Vajra made me soup when my love and my best friend lied and lay with each other and a toke in the mosquito net, as soon as I left town. Sudhaji making sure I rinsed the soap all the way off the plates, making sure I laughed, making sure I came to supper. Excruciating love. Taking all these skins off. My grandmother, the first Dorothy, who had to learn how to cook after getting married, how to be an Aries sun and a woman back then, who taught swimming and taught me cross-stitch and was love. Is. My mother whose voice I love. The second Dorothy, but really Anne with an "e." All the things you've lived that were not on your script. Loving outward all your life, now letting it in. All the love you are dawning into, day by day.

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