Wind Between Motherhoods
By Noelle Havens

Mother only comes out at three in the afternoon before she slips into the room of plenty, a space in center field, yet is off by a smidgen. My birth name is Abigail Constance Bertram. My nickname is Abby, Gail, or G. My mother calls me Moon, Starlight, Milky Way, Earth, Orbit, and sometimes Meteor after I’ve showered. I call my mother Galaxy, for she is the vastness of such a space—when darkness becomes her, I know her winds will speed across the divide between her and me to force my resistance.

An aviary holds our possessions where vultures perch on rafters above and record the echoes within this room. Mother says these vultures squawk, but I say their sound becomes a sweet harmony in my ears. That’s when she calls me Earth. She says the beauty of the Earth requires the beauty of sounds to surface. Mother cannot hear the vulture’s harmony for she is Galaxy—a whisper away from Earth.

We moved to this aviary after Father died of what Mother calls jostling syndrome. He shuttered and caused our tumble and crumble into this place of vultures. I call my father Q for it’s as if his powers consumed him from just beneath the Earth’s surface and these powers frightened him into fits of the shakes. Today, Father is gone a year.

I run to the fields across the drive and leap into Earth’s palette of oil paints. Hands grab green stems, tug, and carry them inside the aviary. From the speakers, strings of melody lift above my head toward the vultures who croon into swirls around them. My feet find their center and spin me into bittersweet celebration. Times like these are when Mother calls me Orbit.

Mother usually calls me Moon but the last time was over a year ago, before the quake. She used to tell me, I call you Moon because when you were but a twinkle I stared at you like I stare at the bright moon in the darkness. She says, I found you in that moon and found myself in your reflection. Like Mother, I stare at my namesake every night and see Father’s eyes watching over us. Mother hasn’t called me Moon since Father became that reflection.

The vultures chant a tune that reminds me of Mother’s song. She sings like a whisper into my ear—the most gentle state of galaxy. She sing-says, you, my Milky Way, once swirled within me as the great unknown. Milky Way is Mother’s name for me when understanding eludes us, usually in the moments when Mother sees Father in me.

We sit across from a vulture that joins us to discover Father’s daylight, for it’s his warmth which soothes us into tomorrow. Today, Father is called Sun. Mother and Father unite to create a gentle breeze on a hot summer afternoon.

When dusk settles across our half of the Earth, the vultures swoop down into this aviary, their wing spans majestically flap down then up. Mother calls these vultures Forces of Air. It is by their wings that air churns into a rushing wind—clouds dissipate to uncover sky’s night splendor.

Mother and I lay on the grass. We gaze at Father in the moon and name each star, Vulture, for if the vultures in the aviary watch over us indoors, the moon and stars protect us from above the rafters. Mother tells me the stars are called Vulture. She tells me they cluster like an army prepared to guard. I provide luminosity along their path to Earth, so she calls me Starlight. We lay on the grass, in wonder of Father and the many clusters of Vulture and she says, Starlight, show your moon’s reflection and orbit even when you’re unsure, for it’s your beauty of Earth that echoes across the galaxies.

So, Mother calls me Infinity.

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At odds with linear prose, Noelle Havens flips words around to create an omelet that swirls in the pan. She currently lives in Chicago, Illinois where she is an MFA candidate at Northwestern University.
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