mother/mama/mom, by Navya Kaur


all through college
she told me
she wore her hair in do gutta
woke early each morning
to twist the two strands together
into shiny braids that
sat tight on her shoulders
as she listened to her professors
talk to her about macroeconomics
and political science
in panjab

she married at the age of 20
to a man four years older
of whom she knew
almost nothing
she left her own city
to start a new family
decorated her house
with white marble floors
hung pictures of
the golden temple
in each room
held the fingers of a little girl
as she helped her climb
the stairs for the very first time

adapted to a new city
her husband told her they
would be leaving the entire country
she arrived in america
longing for her family
but smiled as the white man
at the counter helped her find her luggage

her daughter – barely three
curled up inside her black leather jacket
and wondered why everyone kept staring

six years later
when the uneasy glances became normal
and her daughter started elementary school
her belly made room
for a set of two new babies
that pushed and shoved until
they came out (a month early)

with three girls in a new country
she told me
she learned to move fast
every second
there would always be something –
a broken toy that needed fixing
a fight over a flower dress
a whine for more milk
a cry from a nightmare

she was always working
day and night
stealing those quick chances
when her husband wasn’t home
to call her parents and ask them how they were doing
told them not to worry
that she was kush at home
watching her babies
and reading them stories

seventeen years later
her children grew taller
and moved on from picture books
to harry potter novels
from ‘a for apple’ to
1000 word essays

and after all the scars
and cuts
her tough skin
to this day

is still unbroken.

what is that if not magic?

-Navya Kaur, 2015

Navya Kaur is a senior at American High School. Along with poetry, her interests include computer science and journalism. Her blog can be found here.

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