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Mothers Run in My Family

I come from a long line of mothers,

stretching back and on the backs of

Mothers. Both sides.


My mother’s mother escaped a war zone.

A little girl survived falling stars as a country collapsed around her,

but never got over her fear of thunder.

Sweetest woman alive, says everyone,

The only one sweet enough to kill livestock with her hands.

Nothing is less sweet than starving children.

Even when the children aren’t starving,

my mother’s mother could not learn anything but hunger pangs.


She taught little children after she taught her own and my mother remembers

the first day her mother wore pants to work.

How her father made her change.

Mothers Run slowly in my family.


My mother escaped a war zone.

A little girl survived falling stars as home collapsed around her,

Never got over her need to look after, her need to take care,

her need to smooth your hair back and murmur,

“You’re okay baby. You’re okay.”

My mother lost her mother when she was my age.

My mother survived a war zone, and she watched her mother not.


I lay awake at night wondering how it felt, to watch.

Not bombs, not men, cancer.

To watch it weave and sew its way along like her needle through my clothes

It runs in my family too.

You’re okay baby, you’re okay.


My mother realized her mother wouldn’t be in any of her wedding photos,

so she got them all out of the way and fled across the country.

Mothers run, in my family.

But they never run from us.

You’re okay baby, you’re okay.


My mother ran to the other end of the continent.

I don’t think even that would be enough for me.

I doubt it was for her.

You’re okay baby, you’re okay.


I still need my hair smoothed.

Momma, I still need my hand held.

My mother had babies because she was lonely.

Momma if you run now

I will never not be lonely.



Madi Morelli


Honoring Our Ancestors:

An Anthology by Spell Jar Press

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