I watched my dead mother eating jam on a cracker at Stonewall Kitchen. It was the turn of her shoulder, the tilt of her head. She tossed gobs of sweet jam in her mouth and went on her way in search of the next sample — strawberry rhubarb, blueberry peach, champagne marmalade — dolloped extravagantly onto a white thin crisp. When my breath returned, I walked towards my mother only to see a woman who was not her. The hair color was wrong, the face that of a stranger. Her high cheekbones were puffy and sagged. I am heading back to Stonewall Kitchen to look around for her, just in case. I’ll eat jam on a cracker while I wait.
Michelle Bowdler is a recent alum of the Grub Street Memoir Incubator in Boston, and is planning to spend her time in residency making revisions to a full draft manuscript. She has been published in the New York Times, is nominated for a Push Cart Prize for her piece Eventually, You tell Your Kids, in Left Hooks Literary Magazine, October 2018. She has two upcoming essays in a book entitled: We Rise to Resist – Voices from a New Era in Women’s Political Action, Dail and Wells editors (McFarland 2018). Michelle was honored to be a recipient of the 2017 Barbara Deming Memorial Fund Award for Non-Fiction.
Michelle works as the Executive Director of Health & Wellness at Tufts University in Medford, MA and has a Masters of Public Health from Harvard University. She is involved in advocacy related to rape kit reform and improving law enforcement response to sexual assault survivors. She lives in Sudbury, Massachusetts with her wife, Mary and they have two children in college. Michelle was born in Chicago and has important memories of Wrigley Field, the Lake, and the many family and friends who still live in this great city.