Sakeen the housemaid was rarely free to play with us, even at parties. She had to prepare dinner, serve it to the guests, and clean up. Shahnaz, my uncle’s wife, liked to throw big parties to outplay our mothers in a game between them known
Aminatu sometimes found comfort in the fact that no one there quite knew her. Their expectation of the things she should have done or could have been was not humiliatingly high. To most who met her, Aminatu was “that young African woman.” That, in its ambiguity, was manageable. So she combined whatever it was to be African with what she was inevitably coming to know as black in America.
So the girl balled up her fist to keep the thirty-seventh president safe and stuck it away. Like having the White House in your pocket.
What I’d read him was nothing more than nonsense put to paper in my free time, sheltering my hope that life would not always be what it had been until now, a good life in the dullest sense of goodness.
Why I Chose It: Michigan Quarterly Review Reader Matthew Wamser introduces Glen Hirshberg’s “Over” from our Summer 2020 Issue. A warning: It is so easy to fall in love with the father in this story. In the narrator’s hands, the father comes alive as a truly specific
Katie Jo knew that Ima was not her actual mother because she didn’t hurt as much or soothe as much, but she was better than nothing because nothing was unbearable.