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Word Count: 3,010
I can still remember the whiteness of my mother as she slips beneath the surface of the river Years later I am standing in my clean kitchen when the memory returns We are somewhere near the Holcomb River in the shade and my mother wears a white slip that flutters up in the water She is very pale and fat and the blossoming of the slip makes her seem immense Kneeling in the river submerged to her shoulders she turns her face to the sky The fat of her arms sways in the air dips into the dark water She takes a breath and closes her mouth From me from all of us she slides away I am hardly old enough to know how much like drowning this is Why have we come to the river when it is swollen with rain when it is running so hard and fast The reason is lost I remember nothing Since I am wearing shoes this must be autumn or winter The world shows brown and dry Only the daughters have come my older sister Nora stands with me but none of my brothers has followed Why not Mama rises out of the river gasping throwing water from her hair Her breath rises in trails of steam The surprise of seeing her move so freely still echoes in me years afterward Her large flat breasts lift the yellowed bodice of the slip clinging to the high flesh She says something I cant remember what it is something about the cold But she addresses the air above my head not me Another person stands behind me I cant remember who How can such a vivid memory be so imperfect In the present I am standing in my kitchen with the light on I am alone in my house but I am seeing everything around me in a strange way All the objects have
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