Things My Mother Left Me


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“ ‘We are the source, us, its children, daughters of the sun, the soil and the stars.’ I turn and look at her, convinced that my sister has lost her entire mind. ‘The magic of the earth, its heartbeat, its molten iron, it burns in us, we carry it in our wombs and wear it on our skin and hair. The very pulse of the earth is in us, and that is what they want. That is what they offer to the serpent and in exchange it satisfies their flesh and gives them whatever they desire.’ I stare at her, looking for the place where her madness may have left a sign, but find nothing, only my sister with the eyes I have known my whole life.”

Things My Mother Left Me is an anthology of three short stories and two novellas, which explore the ways in which the traumas of our mothers are inherited by and transferred through their daughters.
The story plots themselves are connected by thread of their genealogy and serve to illustrate the similarities and vast differences passed on through the generations.

In each story, the main characters battle with and challenge various structural abuses such as rape, gender- based violence, class, parenting in unsafe environments, and the burden of complexion .

Mpondo guides the reader through each characters’ courageous navigation of their own experiences with limited resources and support, with only their will to survive to carry them. Each story addresses the vast experiences of a woman’s body and highlight the body’s policing while praising its self-defined agency.