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A memoir in essay form, with the body as its central reference point.
But every couple of hours the water in the kitchen ceased, I heard my mother's footsteps in the carpeted hall, saw her tiny figure in my doorway, "You need anything, sweetheart?" she asked. She didn't wear an apron, so her sweatshirt was always dotted with dishwater. She stood half-in, half-out of my bedroom until her maternal instincts overwhelmed her; then she slid onto my bed, her palm on my forehead, her eyes teary with concern. I can't remember if we'd ever really talked about sex; we attended the mother/daughter lecture in junior high auditorium called "The Joy of Being a Woman," but that was more about Kotex than it was about intimacy, and even then I could barely stand the embarrassment. Once, feeling bold, I'd asked her if she and my father had sex before they were married. "Oh, of course not," she answered, blushing, turning to fuss with pots and pans on the stove. "And you better not, either." As she sat with me on my bed, I wonder if she looked at me, her daughter, and couldn't help imagine what I'd done, if my sexuality made her angry or sad or ashamed.
My mother never mentioned my young boyfriend. She barely mentioned the pregnancy. Instead, she admired the growing needlepoint, rubbed the bulky fabric between her fingers, talked about having it framed and mounted on the wall above my bed. She knew that sometimes only the simplest actions are feasible, and those are the ones that lead us out of illness and back into the world. So I pulled strands of thread through tiny holes until one day I was able to walk, and one day I was able to laugh, and one day I was able to cry. Recovery, it turned out was inevitable.
|A Dharma Name||33|
|Next Year in Jerusalem||57|
|How to Meditate||75|
|A Thousand Buddhas||87|
|A Brief History of Sex||129|
|Prologue to a Sad Spring||137|
|Time With Children||155|
|A Field Guide to the Desert||165|
|Season of the Body||189|