Elliott Bradley

A Mother’s Prayer

The same people who don’t know your fullest being are the first to claim the worst fruits as their favorite. Kiwi, tomatoes, watermelon. I cannot say much as you look into my eyes. It is the winter after our last conversation. My God has left me out to hang, and dry.

The expectancy drops my words before your feet; waiting for you to pick them up and put them in your ears to listen to a cassette tape of things I could not burn onto a CD (nor onto paper). There’s so much I cram into your voicemail-box. I speak of the times we went around town embracing the homeless. I speak of the times we argued. I speak of the times you left.

“Do you know what you remind me of?” I ask you, on my fifth voicemail. “Cherries.”

There’s much more. Tupac collections, burned Bibles, the smell of savory things. Farmer’s markets. But cherries most of all.

“Did you enjoy it?” pause. “How fruits sprouted from your innocence: when you believed there were good men; when you kissed thinking you’ve left no bruise; when you walked down the street failing to realize every boy was thinking about cherries and how they blossomed from your womb like a tree in Africa. The pear of your figure, the coconuts upon your chest, the purging of your mother’s deliverance to become who you are.”

“Do you remember the talks your mother gave you? The ones about colonizers? Those ready to pick every one of your resources? Did you understand she wasn’t just talking about the white men?”

“You, you my Love, let women displace every one of their childish ways on different parts of your motherland, until the resources dried up, until the leaves from your tree stopped growing; until after they were already exported to places never meant for them; until they were processed into pieces so small they don’t recognize they were once part of your being. And it’s worse you didn’t know until it was long overdue,” I said in the seventh.

I’m ashamed to say I didn’t end there. On the eighth, I cried for you. Prior to the ninth, I sobbed as I thought of how they spit pieces of humanity out of their mouths like apple seeds. Have you forgotten how you used to turn into a Pink Lady as their little Jonathans had Galas? How their Granny Smiths don’t look them in the eye since they’ve been building Empires on broken women’s imports?

Are there still coffee rings on top of your mother’s gospel?

Is my silent worship going unnoticed as you fail to requite my love. Will you not call me back?

Their stares were the perfume on your skin, the tears in your eyes, the GMOs I was not yet immune to. You were right. I should’ve never told the public about your orchard. All they do is mass consume, destroy, and throw away perfectly good fruit.


Elliott Bradley (they\he) is a junior with big dreams of becoming a writer. Bradley has been published previously by Teen Ink Magazine & Rag Queen Periodical for his personal pieces on their black, queer experiences. They can be found on Twitter & Instagram @ayeelliottmyguy, but can also be found in the nearest library, SAT Prep Center, debate tournament, or where there’s music.

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