2 PoemsPosted: November 29, 2010
For My Mother
She bathes herself in hot water steeped in chamomile.
Flower buds float in the reservoir between
the roundness of her belly peaks out above the water
warm and healthy.
Her hair is thin, but soft
wrapped in bright colored cloth
she is tired.
Tired of long days and dirty kitchens
and the boss’s never ending requests
‘can you stay just a little longer?’
And she is tired.
Tired of holding back the desire to rip the fake smile
off of her face and walk out of these hell kitchens
with dignity and freedom and promises never to return.
And she is tired of spending half of the day standing up
feet so swollen she can barely make it to the bus stop
joint in hand
the green calms her racing mind and aching body
preparing her for the next shift at home
where her babies yearn for her
because daddy is not home
and never is.
She heats up large pots of water to bathe her children in
and wraps them in blankets and holds them tight against her chest
hoping they can feel her love
and thoughts of reassurance that everything will be ok.
She is tired.
She sits in bath water soaking her muscles and rubbing lotion
into the cracks of her fingers
trying to find the strength to start all over the next day
and the next
and the next.
She wraps her life dreams away in tiny boxes for her children
and hopes they will understand
that this world never meant for her to survive.
And her daily living offers glimpses into
revolutionary dreams deferred.
Hot pavement aroma fills the thick summer air
as children laugh and shriek.
Hose water sprayed into the black streets to
cool the ground and their burnt feet.
Oldies play out car windows
‘hot fun in the summertime…’
A little girl patiently waits on porch steps
for a father who rarely comes.
Waiting, waiting, waiting.
Father why don’t you hoop with me anymore?
Why you so skinny?
Why you bring that woman around when mama isn’t here?
A child’s inquiries become a child’s panic screams
father why you touch mama like that?
Why do you leave?
Why do you always leave?
Little girl screams become a young woman’s strength
no longer asking why you leave
but asking you to leave.
Don’t come around this house you didn’t build
you think the simple act of ejaculating into a woman is fatherhood?
You think spontaneous visits and sports games
makes up for years of pain, neglect and confusion?
The seasons have changed
and the hot pavement cracks with the growing pains of
a little girl becoming a woman.
Learning not to fear the unknown