Mothers We Have Known

Killing the Buddha celebrates Mother’s Day this year with Elizabeth Wildman’s “Big Fat Jewish Pregnancy” and Kathryn Joyce’s acceptance speech for her 2009 Vulgaria Child Catcher of the Year Prize, awarded by the ultra-right Vision Forum organization in disgruntled recognition of Kathryn’s book about “Quiverfull” moms who bear as many children as they can, a “quiver” of arrows for culture war. Aww. Cute!

Of course, there have been moms as long as there’s been a Killing the Buddha; maybe even longer. Here are a few of our favorites from the archives.

“God is Electric, Jesus Electrochemical,” by Michael Allen Potter. The author goes in search of God and his birth mother. Only one gets found.

“My Holy Ghost People,”
by Ashley Makar. “I don’t know tongues, but I know by heart how Holy Ghost people talk to the Lord: how Grandmother prays, in a cadence like crickets, a tender drone, grieving and pleading and gracious all at once, swelling to that harsh stride that comes up on her when she’s Cloroxing the floors with a mop, or when she used to whip her girls with a flyflap: Whap, like that clap when somebody’s getting worked up over the Lord, I mean you better straighten up and start actin’ right, girl, or the devil’s coming after you, she’d say, beating just as hard as she could, like she was in a trance, my mother has told me, over and over.”

“The Cross and the Color Line,” by Timothy B. Tyson. “Southern white boys from time immemorial have issued glowing encomiums of nostalgia for their beloved “mammy,” hosannas flung practically in the same breath with their white supremacist diatribes. And thus I hesitate, really, to say how I felt about Mrs. Allen…”

“Motherly Love,” by Diana Winston. A Buddhist nun in Burma, and her Jewish mother on the phone.

“Everybody Has a Mother, and They All Die,” by Jeff Sharlet. “The really crazy thing is not that some people believe in resurrection; it’s that anyone doesn’t.”

“Mothers,” by Greg Bottoms. “Mark had threatened his mom a few days before, said–not seriously, but said nonetheless–that he wanted her dead, was going to save his allowance to hire a hit man.”

“The Doctrine of Sugar,” by Catherine Allgor. Chocolate-cherry pie, and all that can’t be left behind.

“Invisible Thresholds,” by Marissa Dennis. “And so it was deemed by Sirri that, in the hopes of adding to the Kantor pride (in addition to my father and grandmother, my grandfather and several cousins are also Leos), I should keep my legs crossed until at least July 23rd, even though the doctor at the big hospital had deemed July 19th the unofficial official due date.”

“The Beginning, or the End?” by Molly Chilson. “Sam’s small chest pushes against mine with his breath. I am aware of how weak my faith is; how little I trust God. I would not give Him my son.”