Our Mothers

Artwork by Angu Walters via True African Art

Poem by Khadijo Abdi

Do you ever wonder about the mother of Moses? 

I do. I think about what was going on in her head 

and what was happening in her hometown 

for her to find the river Nile safer for her infant than her own loving arms. 

Same thing, I am guessing, going through the head of the Afghan father 

Who lifted his baby over barbed wire into the arms of an American soldier 

Or that long ago mother from Vietnam who raised her baby to the blades of a chopper to safety. 

Same thing as thousands of parents on creaky overcrowded boats across oceans or wading the Rio Grande. 

Same thing as my own mother who walked us across a desert with little water in tow and jungles as lions roared on. 

My mother, who climbed with us into the belly of a truck and pretended to be deaf when Kenyan police stopped us. 

My mother, who boiled dirty lake water to fend off cholera, 

Who went out one night to relieve herself outside the tents and returned to a tent city she didn’t notice when she left us and couldn’t find the tent we slept under. 

My mother, who panicked and walked in circles for an hour, looked into each tent till she found us. 

My mother, who endured that and more, and who to this day, is afraid of uniformed men. 

My mother, who two and a half decades later went to hajj funded by those same babies from that night, those babies she sacrificed everything to keep safe, to keep sane, and succeeded. 

My mother was sleeping in a tent on the eighth day of the pilgrimage; she got up to use the restroom and was right back to the refugee tent city and fell into a panic, thinking to save those babies who have long grown and are raising their own back in America. 

My mother, your mother, the mother of Alan Shenu Kurdi; our mothers are not different from Moses’s mother. 

And even you, if you really ponder it, will place your babies 

your tender sweet babies 

In the jaws of a crocodile, if a crocodile’s mouth is safer than your hands. 

Khadijo Abdi (she/her) is a Minneapolis-based Somali writer and medical interpreter. This poem was originally published in Minnesota Women’s Press.


Sunrise in the winter


Sunrise in the winter by Bella

Sunrise in the winter feel bitter 
A cold that seeps into my bones 
Spine start to shiver 
I long to walk and sing along the flowing river 
But there’s places frozen over, dormant just beneath the surface

There’s lessons in the water,
I know I am the daughter 
The moon is my mother 
And the sun is my father 
Spirit don’t let me falter 
Fall to my knees at the altar

And I feel stagnant 
Ain’t it tragic 
Fighting against old habits 
Tryna find my balance 
On ice 
I call upon the healers 
My ancestral teachers 
Remind me to believe love
Will bring us back to life 

Early sunsets got me smoking every night
Numbs my body, it distracts me from my mind sometimes 
The darkness whispers that we are divine 
And it’s time for you to step into your light
My child
Remember who you are, the spark the root the heart
You are infinity and beyond 

There’s lessons in the water,
I know I am the daughter 
The moon is my mother 
And the sun is my father 
Spirit don’t let me falter 
I sit by your feet at the altar

Yet I feel stagnant 
Ain’t it tragic 
Fighting against old habits 
Tryna find my balance 
On ice 
I call upon the healers 
My ancestral teachers 
Remind me to believe love
Will bring us back to life 


I am light as a feather and free as forever

Feather In Space is a photograph by Brian Hershberger which was uploaded on February 7th, 2013.

Poet: Fazayah Augusta

 I am light as a feather and free as forever

I am the thread that holds you to the ground. 

Grounded in reasoning but high as I want to be, high as I need to see.


it’s above me now 

And we not backing down 

Our glow too bright for you 

and there’s absolutely nothing we can do 

For you, you see our lights too true

Solar connect too strong and our family lineage too long 

The way yall move, upside down

 shits too wrong 

I worry bout yall but long for my talls 

My victory 

my loves

 my copper colored kin

Hair shaped like DNA so all we do is win

 I am light as a feather and free as forever

I am the thread that holds you to the ground. 

Grounded in reasoning but high as I want to be, high as I need to see.


it’s above me now 


a.m. autumn reflections 

rare pink aurora after solar storm, november 2022. Photo by: GREENLANDER.NO

a.m autumn reflections by sabr.

the crisp autumn wind welcomes winter 

within the comfort of cocoa and cinnamon, 

there lie the lessons. 

people come and go 

seasons change, we must let em go. 

there is no life without death 

there is no yin without yang 

we must always maintain the balance. 

shed our leaves, conserve our energy 

dive within, and commune with the divine. 

see that we’ve always been whole, 

everything we’ve ever needed has always been ours. 

remember growth emerges in the dark. 

Poetry Storytelling

Childhood fawn 

Childhood fawn By Kaija Long Crow

I mold myself to be whatever you want or need, I paid attention to your social cues. I noticed you give affection to those that pay their dues, this is the service conditioning of survival. Sometimes we fawn and end up as someone’s pawn left to deal with their shadows.

Adolescent fight and flight

Sometimes you just start hitting back, you get stuck in combat. And one-day cps takes you away, they then label you as a runner, that’s in your file now, they say “your like a little rebel warrior” we’re in denial now because I just didn’t wanna be at that place and, I didn’t choose to be this way. I need something to soothe it hurts to feel this way I can’t go to school, I mean really step in my body, it feels so heavy, and sometimes I can’t breathe what’s happening to me?

What they failed to convey, it’s spiritual warfare going on here. You’ll start to feel like you’re just better off fading away. You take a sip of alcohol and think maybe this’ll help me stay. pretty soon it’ll become a violent exchange with the person you fell in love with this is the person you’re supposed to struggle with you guys will get into everyday bawling brawling thinking love is pain and then suddenly you’ll realize what you thought was love wasn’t. Then you’ll meet this crazy beautiful girl, your soulmate you and her will Eat papers and plants and fly away together in her cool spaceship.

The wind hits and it’s warm, full of courage and wisdom, and guidance. This whole experience is what they call metanoia- a change in one’s way of life through penitence or spiritual conversion. Sometimes I think it was Katrina’s presence-RIP along with the psychedelics, what sparked a change in me and probably my brain. I started seeking sobriety, healing, and peace. This is something I had never seen

Big baby freeze!

At this point, you’re just running in place scared to face all that’s coming. You hop from one addiction to the next, self-diagnose to make it make sense, cry drunk cry high, cry night, and the next morning cry baby cry. They’re gonna tell you “You don’t need treatment you’re working and sober for most of the week.” Little do they know there are 5 younger siblings at home that don’t even know they’re the reason you haven’t gone ghost. I dissociate 4 times a day, & have 3 best friends who don’t really know what to do with my broken beaten lost, mind-body, and spirit. 2 sisters and cousins who are also going through it, and one baby nephew on his way.

I gotta break these chains, this cycle, and start paving the way. Creator knows all I ever wanted was to be better, for myself. Maybe that’s why I wrote this letter, but definitely, for our youth, they’re the ones that deserve better. 











This poem was originally published on this blog in 2017.


Strength Within

Strength Within by Trinity L. Thompson

In a distance, I hear faint cries
although I know you must heal,
let me dry your tears…
we all have a weakness…cry if you must
allow me to help dissolve your fears,
I too lost grip of so much that I cherished in life…
I often daydream wondering why…
until I’m smiling knowing one day that it’ll be alright,
courage and strength come from within
no one can give us those qualities,
so shine like the brightest star…
dissipate the ignorance of darkness
show the world who you are,
one door closes to lock away the pain…
another door opens to release happiness and change,
just as the tears you cried have dried
then also allow your wounds to heal,
let the magic begin…
reach deep down for your strength within.

This poem was originally published in “Under Dark Skiez” A collection of poems by Trinity L. Thompson”



Ciclos by Claudia Chavarría


Pensando entre bien y mal

No percibo el mal y el bien como abajo y arriba, o mal es izquierda o bien es derecha u viceversa, no lo percibo como una decisión mala o buena o un buen acto o mal acto porque hoy lo que parece bueno, desde ya te digo que, ciertamente no lo es y lo que luce malo antes tus ojos siempre trae una virtud de ser y existir.

Lo percibo como un círculo, una rueda de feria, donde todo está tan conectado que lo bueno para ti, puede estar siendo muy malo para otros en otras dimensiones a la cual no estamos consciente de su existencia.

Entonces recuerdo las palabras de mi abuelo, no hagas nada bueno que parezca malo ni nada malo que parezca bueno.


I think

I think between good and evil.

I do not perceive evil and good as below and above, or evil is left or right is good or vice versa, I do not perceive it as a bad or good decision or a good act or an evil act because today what seems good before your eyes from now on I tell you which certainly is not and what looks bad in your eyes always brings a virtue of being and existing.

I perceive it as a circle, a fairground, where everything is so connected that what is good for you may be very bad for others in other dimensions in which we are not aware of its existence.

Then I remember my grandfather’s words, don’t do anything good that seems bad or anything bad that seems good.


Peanut Butter & Ayat Al-Kursi

Peanut Butter & Ayat Al- Kursi

by Sagirah Shahid

When I broke my fast

peanut butter performed a minor exorcism.

Sat upon its stainless-steel throne before backing hunger into its cage.

I licked the spoon, and my tongue recited its everlasting presence on my breath.

In childhood, my grandmother taught me how to repeat the miracles of this spread. 

Like a sura, peanut butter wards off the evil I contain when I am not fed. Before Fajir 

after Maghrib, peanut butter to protect this vegetarian’s head. One taste and I can focus again.

Two scoops, and I drift into a brief heaven. Peanut butter encompassing my afterthoughts

swirl it with some warm honey and toast, then technically even sorcery can’t alter my vibe. 

This piece was first published by the Hennepin Review.




by sabr

love is innate,

it ain’t a trait. 

we don’t have to be taught it. 

like the heavy rains after a dry season, 

it just be pouring. 

but it’s fear being spread in these streets. 

we are taught not to listen to our inner knowing, 

my ears have been aching. 

from ignoring the voice within, 

but i have awakened. 

no longer will fear stifle the light that radiates, 

oh love awaits.