by Elliott Daniels

I used to believe

my mother was a lake who

shimmered and waved birthed me ashore

cattail ferns cradling   sweet sunlight bathing

this was a girl who had stars in the rings of her hair

small novas in the coils and the soft bow bend of her smile


this is what I knew:

my mother’s hands were calloused

the days she spent pouring her heart into loving me

and the nights she stayed breathing

I used to believe

my mother was left offerings at the edge of her waters

of maize and bone of harm and wishes

this was a girl who demanded oaths from her lovers

from the skin and the heart of a community

this is what I knew:

the nights she spent gazing into the heavens she prayed

and all the days she repented

I used to believe

my mother’s love reached far below the earth

this was a girl who knew devotion

this is what I know:

she is a stranger


Elliot Daniels (they/them): Elliott Daniels is a painter, poet, cripplepunk, tutor, and former cook. Elliott writes mainly about their experience as a disabled trans nonbinary person of color, dipping into how their identity interplays with every aspect of their life. They currently reside in Richmond, VA, re-learning how to be a student and working their way to an English degree. Their poem “The Music You Inspire” was published in the Spring 2018 edition of Towson University’s Grub Street Magazine.