Releasing Roots by
(27 Stories)

Prompted By Women We Admire

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Releasing Roots

I pull out Mama’s earrings

From the tangle of jewelry

In the re-used coconut butter jar,

Gently pressing them 

Into the ears that 

She pierced with an icy potato

And a thin-pained needle

When I was 11 years old. 

They were her favorites

And though she taught me

That earrings don’t have to match,

Which is very handy when you 

Lose one,

These she always wore

As a pair- orangish skinny-carved

Stone ovals, with Chinese coins 

And sweet blue beads,

That jingle gently in the ears

With each less than subtle movement.


I pick up the tiny tubes of ashes-

Daddy’s are a charcoal grey, and somehow

Mama’s are so fittingly snow-white,

And wading out into the gentle 

Waves on the beach where she

Had her Aloha, so soon before she died, 

I released Daddy in soft grey clouds 

That quickly churned in to nothing

And felt my heart in my belly, pulse

And pound, as I opened the vial of 

Mama, and part of her is caught by breeze

Wafting back over the flowering trees, 

And some ash floats on the surface, 

While the tiniest of bone fragments

Join the shell shuffle on the sand

At my feet- now tears well and send their salt

Down my cheeks on the way to join the sea,

And I dip down to baptize myself

In the mix of death and life,

Re-birthing myself an orphan

With deep and loving roots. 

Profile photo of January Handl January Handl


  1. Thanks, January. You’ve described a universal experience so poignantly through your great gift for imagery and the clarity of your personal experience. Beautiful!

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