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SUCCESSIONS / Valerie J. Russell Like my mother did, I yeU at my daughter, watch her rage a back-talk I could never speak. As a child, the words my mother's hands refused to hear got snapped, or broken in the frenzied marks left burning on my face and legs. It makes me crazy, sometimes, hearing words I had to swaUow, come out bold and equal in their intensity to my own talk. Trying to make sense to a grown-up child, a woman must be strong, like my mother was. But often, when my anger lashes quick, it strikes hard, threatening to expose how close to surfaces old wounds heal. My daughter does not know of leather straps or branches stripped and thinned for whistUng deep and lasting scars, like my mother must have gotten. Losing her mother, at ten, then being shifted from one aunt to another, she was taken in, after three years, by her father's people, this — his only contribution to her growing, and she had to learn to keep her mouth in check, like her mother never taught her to. The things my mother learned of rage and sUence, she taught me, what my daughter does not know, the way we roar 138 - The Missouri Review our thunder, we shout loud, insistent words between us. Yet, I have to fight to hide a violence in my hands and in my blood, while I'm struggling to maintain this deUcate balance I have forged between my mother's distant scream and the other voice I recognize as mine, but spilling from the open Ups of my daughter. Valerie J. Russell The Missouri Review · 239 ...


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pp. 138-139
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