Gwendolyn Wallace

Gwendolyn Wallace was born and raised in Connecticut and recently graduated with a degree in the history of science and medicine from Yale University. She is currently a fellow at the International African-American Museum in Charleston, SC. Additionally, Gwendolyn is a writer of both creative nonfiction and children’s literature, with two forthcoming picture books. Her creative non-fiction has been published in Wear Your Voice, Foglifter Press, and Meridians. She was also the winner of the 2021 Elizabeth Alexander Creative Writing Award. Her art practices and research are based in Black feminisms, health justice, and ecomemory work. Gwendolyn can usually be found gardening, exploring used bookstores, or listening to the radical impulses of young children.

Surface Tension

My mother has what you might call a tradition. Each summer, when the Connecticut heat slides towards 90 and the humidity makes it feel like you're breathing through cotton balls, my mother goes outside to her car, rolls up all the windows, closes the door, and sits in it for as long as she can manage. She alerts no one. Seven to eight minutes later, she throws open the front door, gasping, eyes squinting from the sweat that could no longer be held back by her eyelashes. She smiles as sweat pools inside her shoes and eventually spills out of them, leaving two watery footprints on the floor when she walks to her bathroom for a shower. I wonder for a second what Yemaya would have to say about the oceans at her feet.