is not filled with bed spreads and sheets. i have no hand embroidered pillow cases. no lace frilled table cloths or curtains. i have been collecting my own sheets. i inherited linen from her cupboard. but the linen is not linen, it is polyester and synthetic. polycotton blends of machine designed prints. no hand-woven. no hand-stitched. no passed down cloth that’s lived on the beds of all the women in my family. i have no hand-carved wooden chest, no brass lock and key to keep things safe. no mothballs, no lavender to keep the intimacy of my sheets fresh. the intimacy of our sheets is not fresh. it is fraught with frayed dreams hung from the wispy hairs of my mother’s temples. it is softly packed away in the folds of her arms. it is wafting silently through her curtains on sunday afternoons, when...
my mother’s trousseau
Toni Stuart is a South African poet, performer, and spoken word educator. Her work has been published in anthologies, journals, and nonfiction books locally and abroad. She has an M.A. Writer/Teacher (Distinction) from Goldsmiths, University of London, where she was a 2014–15 Chevening Scholar. She lives in Cape Town and works in both Cape Town and London.
Toni Stuart; my mother’s trousseau. Meridians 1 November 2018; 17 (2): 382. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/15366936-7176527
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