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Pregnant woman standing outside against a sunset.

Three Poems

Immaculate Conception The day my mother confessed  She had conceived me though IUI, Guilt swallowed her eyes.  Her voice grew quiet And shame took over her body. She had betrayed God  For a baby. Wanted something  So natural,  Motherhood, And obtained it artificially.  Throughout my life,  She repeatedly told me I was special.  I never quite understood why  Until that day.    Feliz día de las madres I think about the first interactions  Between my mother and I. She’s the first person  And place  I called home. The vibrations traveling  From her mouth to her belly— Yo sentí el español antes  De oírlo, hablarlo, leerlo, ni escribirlo. She would tell me  You ate whatever I ate In an attempt to argue I should like the foods she eats. I can’t deny I adore chiles rellenos But I also can’t digest garlic or onions. I inherited taste and malaise.  I look down to my belly button, It once was connected to my mother. And her belly button was once connected to her mother,  And my grandma’s …

A Black man holds his head in his hand. He is leaning against the foot of a bed. A person rests their hand on his shoulder.

I Had to Dial 9-1-1 on My Son During His Mental Health Crisis

“Hello, 9-1-1. What is your emergency?”  The operator’s business-like monotone was exactly what I needed so I could focus.  “I need an ambulance,” I gasped into my cell phone. “My son has symptoms of manic depression. He’s not violent, but I need to get him emergency psychiatric care.”  After I gave the operator the address, I ran the rest of the way to my mother’s house. Khari, who was usually friendly and cracking jokes, was seated at my mother’s dining room table, frowning and rocking rapidly in his chair with his hands tightly gripping the sides. He was talking nonstop about my father who had died from multiple myeloma eleven years earlier.  “Nothing has been the same since we lost Pop-Pop. Nothing. Nothing. Not for me, not for Nana, none of us. Nothing!” he said. My mother, sister, and I gathered around him.  “It’s going to be OK,” I said and tried to hug him.  “Don’t touch me,” he yelled.   We backed away slowly and watched him silently, unsure of what else to say as we waited …