Ladybug (PB) (2022)


From poet, author, educator Nikia Chaney comes an experimental memoir of extreme poverty and schizophrenia, mothering and love. This is Inglewood, California, 1988, bright and loud, spilling brown colored kids out on the sidewalk, like butterflies or trash, their mothers screaming at them from the front door. You sigh. Niki, and your voice is quiet, serious, sometimes I hear people talking to me...Can you hear them too? I strain to listen. You have gone silent again, stiff and lost. I lean into your body and try with my whole being to hear. I make my posture like yours. I close my eyes thinking that it might help me hear better. I brace myself and imagine my ears becoming as big as an antenna, huge satellite dishes that will pick up all the sound in all the house in all the neighborhood in all the world. But I only hear the water running in the sink. Outside a bird caws, then the whoosh of a car driving by. Mommy. Mommy. I can hear them too. I can hear people talking too. I hear them. I hear them like you. You sigh, so relieved and happy. You smile at me in the mirror and laugh, a little, coming back into the room. I refuse to look at you, especially your eyes. I do not know what I will see."

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Nikia Chaney
ISBN 10:
Inlandia Institute
Publication Date:
April 1, 2022