Spring 1997 • Vol. XIX No. 2 Fiction |

African Queen

Your mother was weary for years, long before you understood. Diabetes. High blood pressure. The words were as innocent as the alphabet magnets on her refrigerator door. She uttered them with the same ease she said "plate" and "milk." Your childhood was her slow death. You inherited her awkward bulk and thick waist, her dark, round pancake face, shortness of breath, and disproportionately tiny hands and feet. Sometimes you catch your reflection in the mirror and mistakenly think "Mother." Is this what you've become to yourself? Your daddy's a mystery. All you know for sure is his people are scattered through the Islands in places you've only dreamed about. What could his family do for a woman they never met, a couple thousand miles away? You wrote a letter right after your mother died. Someone named Sabrina wrote back. An aunt maybe. A cousin. You never did get it straight. So sorry to hear about your mother. Come visit the West Indies, she said, knowing you didn't ha

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He Sleeps

By Reginald McKnight

Your mother was weary for years, long before you understood. Diabetes. High blood pressure. The words were as innocent as the alphabet magnets on her refrigerator door. She uttered them […]

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