return to

ISSUE TWO

GRANDMOTHER IN FIVE PARTS

Out of her body came 10

2 died

They were lucky

 

Out of her body

Came a mop

And bucket

All of her daughters would

Disappoint her

As daughters do

 

She would birth life and death

Cycles

Unbroken rings of poverty

And madness

 

I’m still fearful of that woman

Who never showed herself

As vulnerable

Or kind

 

Threads of spirit lived

She lived

Something has to still live

 

Out of her body

Came an alcoholic

A belligerent retired army nurse

And a somewhat self sufficient

Schizophrenic

 

They would marry,

Bury husbands, have daughters

Never sons

 

Grandmother I’m not going to heaven

To see you

But I want to believe in that God

See a whitened version of us

In his paradise.

 

I want to find you by the river

Singing your lonely gospels to virgins

As they are feeding fat men.

 

I want to find you

Clutching your white dress

Waiting for your turn to serve

A white man

That will give you

No rest.

 

I find you in some kitchen

Unable to stand

Hunched over an oven

God’s children are so impatient

 

You grip that cast iron

In heaven

God’s children want more

You stand over that stove

Cornbread with bacon,

Grits with butter and honey

 

Even in heaven, Jesus needs a

Domestic

 

And you crippled, tired Black woman

Stand next to crippled tired Indian woman

Stand next to crippled tired Indigenous woman

Stand next to rows and rows and rows of crippled tired women

Hunched over stoves

Or finding their reflection in God’s toilet

 

Lonnie Mae, wasn’t this supposed to be different

Haven’t we suffered enough

We believed and we sacrificed

We bled

We did the best we could

 

God promised us.

He promised us

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