for asking her to move, to walk.
It’s late. Seven p.m.
She has sundowned before the sun
But I recall long nights
of drives to Dairy Isle
when we dipped our tongues
in banana custard crème
and then quenched our imaginations
with the colored fountains near the waves –
Red, yellow, orange, green, blue.
Red, yellow, orange, green, blue,
colors sliding into one another
as her moments and moods do now,
with no real distinction between
a spot of ice cream
and lathered soap.
Finally, we stop moving.
tearing into me
for being a son of a bitch
though I want to correct her
and say girl, not son.
I hold my tongue
wait for the ice cream
to cool her temper,
and my ire at why
I am here at all.
Why am I not protesting
with black lives that matter.
Because this life in front of me
that calls me honey,
a taste sweeter than peach,
is all I can feel.
And I will tell my husband later,
if we each take care of one,
wouldn’t that be the thing?
That would stop the pain
despite how many times
she has wanted to strangle
me with her killer looks,
because she doesn’t understand.
We all offer context for lives we are leading.
We all offer reasons for ones we are not.
But just for a moment,
she grabs the creamed ice
from the place between us
where it sat as peace offering,
an offering of peaches.
She reaches for the spoon –
with a spoon she knows what to do –
and scoops milk into her mouth.
A mother feeding her own self,
as long as someone else
has brought the ice cream.
And wasn’t it worth that screaming,
for her one cool plunge
to a place inside
no one else can touch.
AJW 7/2016 – This poem was written shortly following the shootings of two black men, at the hands of police, and also following the deaths of five police officers, in retaliation. I followed my heart, to my mother’s.
Annette, this is so beautiful. Just found you on Twitter & am so glad I did. You have such a gift with words.