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Friday Feature: C.Jean Blain

C.Jean Blain is an international educator, a writer, a performer and, above all, she is a storyteller. She holds a Master's in Public Administration with a concentration in Comparative Political Systems. Her work is mostly shaped by the stories and legacies that she has witnessed and those she has inherited. She uses her experience, passion, and creativity to build bridges between what is occurring in our global society and its relevance to our communities and personal reality. She has received residencies and fellowships from Hedgebrook, VONA Voices, DreamYard, and The Watering Hole. Her work can be found in A Gathering of Tribes Magazine, Mer Vox, Burrows Press, Gumbo Magazine, and elsewhere. Follow her on Instagram.

My Mothers' Echo

I am. I was. I be. I am, I was, I be. I am I was I be.

My mother speaks of ghosts as if they have never left her. She talks of my grandmother in present tense and sits before blood orange sunsets to tell me of the memories we shared before I was born. My mother is 96 years old, and I do not correct her anymore. Time will not wait until we have made peace with the past to move on, so I have decided I will be whomever she remembers as long as she remembers me. I was born between miscarriages. I am the only daughter of an only daughter; the last surviving of a last survivor. We both know I am here because all the women in our bloodline willed it. They hoped I would be redemption for all that we had lost. I have always known the debt my life paid just as I will always know the debt my life carries. I am still here because the weight and thickness of love is too heavy to put down even on the days it crushes me.

I am. I was. I be. I am, I was, I be. I am I was I be.

Every woman conceives her own freedom and gives birth to her evolution. They say daughters are echoes until they have their own children; only vibrations of all that came before them until they give birth to a response. Until they add another voice to the world, they do not truly own their own. I do not know motherhood like the women who came before me. Once, I found out I was pregnant on the day I miscarried. The moment I learned I held our future it soon became our past but I still am forever. This body be Atlantic, ancient and new, ocean and cemetery, memory and possibility and while I do not know motherhood like the women who became before me, I be their echo.


Torch Literary Arts is a 501(c)3 nonprofit established to publish and promote creative writing by Black women. We publish contemporary writing by experienced and emerging writers alike. TORCH has featured work by Colleen J. McElroy, Tayari Jones, Sharon Bridgforth, Crystal Wilkinson, Patricia Smith, Natasha Trethewey, Elizabeth Alexander, and others. Programs include the Wildfire Reading Series, writing workshops, and retreats.


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