My Mother Won’t Let Me Forget
They had to cut you out
of me, cause you was so fat
and full of all that blood
and home cookin’ I done pushed in
and through you. April 2nd, 1995
the noisy Ohio winter stuck
around to witness the coming
of my child. And boy, did you holler. Not like them
white kids wildin’ out at the grocery store
type of holler, but like a man
who done lost something precious.
You looked back at the impression
you left in my belly and let out a cry
that would shrink Orpheus’ sorrow songs
pomegranate seed small. But you was all
high-yellow and soft.
If you wasn’t the kindest thing
I’d ever seen. Most babies arrive lookin’ like
they mad at being alive, but not my boy. Sweet
as your dad’s Bud Light kisses. Potato-roll plumb
brown glazed yams for eyes. Best thing I’d ever cooked up.
Worth the months of morning sickness, you sewed
me up afterwards. Your first work of art:
a smiley face along my belly. Here I am,
mother, you said,
with blanket in hand, as you walked, climbed
back into my IV-ed arms.
You took care of me: beat my face
pretty, pulled my hair
into tight cornrows, squeezed pain into
and out of my corns, while dad left
Taco Bell chunks in the trash on sight
of your raw newness. All my life
I’ve been a mother
of kids that weren’t mine, bought my sister
her first weave, taught my brothers how to leave
the house with the ashy lotioned off them.
Finally, I was able to enjoy the ripe of my own harvest.
I gazed on the black wool on your head
and wondered how Mary learned
to let go. My second night in the hospital
I dreamed you came out
of me a grown man
took your dad by the hand, went out for beers
and never came back. When I woke
I considered reconstructive
surgery: attach him to my hip. I settled:
being his mother will have to do.