Rachel Morton and Charisse Cecil

Morton I

Rachel Morton
Inspiration piece provided to Charisse Cecil

By Charisse Cecil
Dedicated to the memory of “Mom” Lottie Mae Burrell

Lottie never smiles.
Her husband is dead, sons lost to wars
in arid, sandy, faraway lands.
Her hair once hung over her shoulders
like a silky, onyx curtain.
Now it is a frizzled, gray cloud atop her head.
Her hands are stiff now,
no longer the nimble hands
that washed rich folks’ linens
and hung them gracefully on the line
to dry and brighten in the midday sun.
Her skin, once supple and pliant
from passionate handling
and a daily spoonful of cod liver oil,
now drapes over her bones
like parchment paper
and feels like wind-battered leather.

Lottie never looks back.
She doesn’t pine for the days of her youth.
She will not become a pillar of salt.
Instead she will be a pillar in this community
of people so unlike herself.
She takes in boarders – young, brown girls
with bare ring fingers and full baby carriages.
She simmers lemon, garlic, onions and pepper
in a pot, the antidote
to stuffy little noses and congested chests.
Lottie gathers the forgotten pieces of her life –
John’s work pants, Junior’s receiving blanket,
Paul’s favorite pajamas – and sews them
into quilts to keep the babies warm.

When the feverish babies are soothed
and their young, fearful mothers can finally
succumb to slumber,
Lottie looks back, and smiles.
Note: All of the art, writing, and music on this site belongs to the person who created it. Copying or republishing anything you see here without express and written permission from the author or artist is strictly prohibited.



  1. Charisse I love the imagination and narrative behind this piece. It is sad yet reassuring at the same time. I appreciate the way that you merge Lottie’s past with her present in terms of the quilts that she makes for her boarders. Good stuff.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: