Literary Magazine

Motherhood | Robert Wright

“Mom, are we rich?”

he asked as he climbed into the minivan after a day of

coloring and counting and climbing on the monkey bars reserved for the childhood gardeners,

just as he did the very first day

when he grumpily announced

“They didn’t even teach us to read today!”


Her breath stopped.

“Did someone make fun of his clothes?

His Lion King backpack?

His Buzz Lightyear lunchbox?”

“Did he hear us arguing through the walls last night about the blossoming bush of bills on the kitchen table?”

“Should I just keep him home and protect him from the parrots who mimic the hard words they hear at home?”


“Mom, are we rich?”


“Well, we have enough to buy what we need.”

She hesitated.

“Why . . . do you ask?”


“Well, Sarah’s mom”—oh the lovely Sarah, whose golden curls caught his eye the first day on the playground—”Sarah’s mom

told her to find a boyfriend who is smart, good-looking, and rich.

I know I’m smart.

I know I’m good-looking.

But I don’t know if I’m rich.”


She drank a tall, sweet breath.

Robert Wright is a health care attorney in Little Rock, Arkansas.