“But, now, in my forties, I want to be a part of the making. I want to build something from its most elemental parts as my thoughts swirl in tandem with a wooden spoon.”
“Trains are still a part of my blood, my birthright. Through them I embrace my own kind of mobility and ambition, those two valued traits in my family line, if not quite manifested in the direction I’m heading.”
“To know a language you need more than grammar and vocabulary; a language gains its life from memories. It is woven from all the voices you ever knew, from the daily noise of the street, from the quiet melodies of the authors you read, from jokes and songs and curses. I did not know this language.”
Heather Stokes recounts what addiction has taken from her and her mother. To feed crack addictions, her bother and uncle stole not just possessions from the family house, they robbed them of personal safety and any chance at stability.
My mother told me seaweed has twenty-one different minerals. She sent me two kinds in a box. I put one in a teacup and added hot water. Sipped the wisdom of her. Used her to make broth. Broth is one step in the recipe.
“On Sunday we drive to prison. I have packed snacks for the children. They have charged their phones. We start early, when the roads are empty. I used to cry on this drive. Now I don’t. I don’t seethe anymore, either. And I’ve stopped hoping. Everything that could go wrong already did. No more detours are possible around the scorched landscape of our life. All I can do is witness.”
As Connie Pertuz-Meza recalls her Papi’s struggles with alcoholism and the toll the shame of his addiction took on her, her sister, and her Mami, she comes to the realization that her sadness does not define her.
“Upon reflection now, I think the attic, to me, represented something of my feminine desire, perhaps contained it, let it incubate, simmer, and grow.”