Such a fraught sign is the mother. A figure to idolize and punish. To endure and honor. To love and look away from.

She may be a passing storm, an echo, a bird who lives on the surface of the ocean. We, individually, collectively, may demand and withhold anything from the mother who may be either or both the hero and monster of stories we tell ourselves, stories we tell each other, stories we make law. Is that a mother or a windowless room? A point of origin, Superglue, or endless rain? A mother may be the impression of a shadow on the wall between us. A nuisance on the telephone. A cycle to break.

Perhaps a mother may be all these things and more because she is a fulcrum through which history passes. This issue of Adi features just three writers for whom thinking and feeling through the rich, tangled, contradictory space of ideation and practice that is motherhood has been a personal, political, and aesthetic project for many years.

In Show Me a Mother, poet Tiana Nobile explores distress as the connective tissue between her experience giving birth as a Korean American adoptee and that of her birth mother, while multidisciplinary artist Seema Reza investigates in Light Multiplies what it means to activate intergenerational agency in relation to the traumas in her maternal line as a Bangladeshi American daughter, granddaughter, and mother. Finally, I interview poet and editor Aracelis Girmay about the anthology she edited, So We Can Know: Writers of Color on Pregnancy, Loss, Abortion, and Birth, published earlier this year by Haymarket Books.

We hope you will read, reflect, and share these pieces with folks in your lives for whom these pieces may offer company, solace, acknowledgment.

-Cynthia Dewi Oka, Editor-in-Chief

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