Poetry Archive

Back in the Red (Stick)

Photo credit: Thomas Kinto
Back in the Red (Stick)

After a decade
she’d had enough.
Broke and broken
she bore a pathway
through the slums of New
York city headed south
in search of familiar—
a more genteel way
to raise two daughters
one that offered more
trees and fewer take-out menus,
more grass and fewer
guns, more gifts
than griefs.

But, in all,
her leaving
only traded pissy
projects for
rural city red lining.
Once in it, she decided
she would have to
mother from there—
plant their roots in the fruitless
dirt, pluck the burs from and prune
their cantankerous hair…

And every morning
she would water,
and at night, lay, her watchful eyes
upon them like the fullest moon

then wait patiently,
till their ever afters
fought their way
to bloom.

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Filed under: Poetry Archive


Jacquelyn Grant Brown is black. human. mom.  survivor. magician. yaya. healer. peacemaker. wordsmith. creative. student. teacher. traveler…  She received the following degrees: B.S. Louisiana State University/English; M.A. Solstice @ Pine Manor College/Creative Writing.  Other published work by Jacquelyn can be found in The Rumpus, Rat’s Ass Review, African American Review and others. Recurring themes in her poems often center around family, mothering, trauma & healing.  Currently, she is editing her manuscript for publication, making art and celebrating second chances.