The Autumn Tree, My Mother & I, 2014.
Table of Contents
Editor’s Letter: How Are We Doing?
Essay: Cities of My Body, by Liz Rognes
I began to cry softly, afraid that my choice to do a line of blow had jeopardized this life I had with him—this beautiful distance from the darkness of drug use, this life of books and mornings and dog walks, this life of music and love and happiness. My past and my present were polar opposites, two cities that could not be any more different or further apart, but that night they had appeared in the same room. Two versions of me had inhabited my body.
Essay: Leading the Children out of Town, by Jill Christman
This is when I surprised myself. What should I have done? What would you have done? Should I have yelled? You irresponsible freak! You let your kid, your baby, play alone in the street? But I didn’t. The moment was so uncomfortable, so weird, a kind of joke came out of my mouth, an excuse for this poor excuse of a father. I laughed, I laughed, and I said, “I guess we were kind of like the Pied Piper, leading the children out of town!”
Essay: Fisheye View, by Jody Keisner
The fish were the first living things we had brought into our home, under our care, since the winter day almost four years earlier we had brought Lily home. The feeling of new-mother anxiety rushed back at me; I inhaled sharply. I couldn’t bear to let anything die in her room: plant, fish, or other. Especially the other.
Essay: Bear Country, by BJ Hollars
I worked my way down the dark hall—bypassing the dog and my infant daughter, Ellie, until arriving at my three-year-old son Henry’s room. As my eyes adjusted to the dark, I noticed my wife’s silhouette alongside him, her body filling in the space where his Berenstain Bears books weren’t.
Backtalk: Our readers answer the question: If you could do it again, what would you tell your new mother self?
“Skip the parenting books for the first two years.” – S. Pilman
Fiction: The Night Mr. Li Won Jeopardy by Mai Wang
The Chinese residents of the Big Yard called Mama “Lucky Hands” because she drew the winning hand in their late night poker games week after week.
Poetry: What No One Ever Told You by Rebecca L’Bahy
There is a bird in your throat, a rock in your ribs.
Poetry: Lessons by Laura Lassor
Motherwit: Child Psychology 101 by Sue Sanders
Author Q&A: Brain, Child writers Jill Christman, Liz Rognes, BJ Hollars, Jody Keisner, and Mai Wang, discuss writing and parenthood.