All posts filed under: Poetry Archive

What the Earth Carries

I. My grief is buried somewhere deep. Where it can settle, be nurtured, and sprout as  something less disruptive, more fresh, and closer to the living.   II. Granny worries that I didn’t grieve properly at Mama’s funeral. I want to tell her my grief  has been released back to where it came from, until I am ripe enough to bear it’s season. III. In a dream, Mama, with her slim, black fingers adorned with bright gold rings, braids my  hair down my back. She is focused. Meticulous. I wake up, and rub the thick locs forming  on my head.   IV. Out in Mama’s garden, I can smell her. Fresh hibiscus and vanilla. It lingers, even in the dresses I take from her closet, and in the scarves I wrap my head in each night. V. When I dig my hands into the soil, I feel a soft beating, like a heart. Entranced, my  breathing slows to a steady rhythm. Granny bends down, grabs my wrists real tight, and  says, We’ll get through this …

The White Night Shirt

Tide-scented, thrice folded, top of pile, she returns to me at night, pulls my soft, sagging mouth down her head and lies down, buffing with her hand my print — a cream and red cottage nesting on her chest. Her mother bought me full-price from the city’s first Westside and now she’s had me longer than she did her mother. It is winter in the picture, we can tell because snow is all over, except not as flakes or crystals but lush, comical apples. So many apples — filling up her dormant arms, polka dotting her hemline, sliced off on her neck — as if Newton was hailed on by one too many ideas at once, the plurality of such impossible weight flattening him before gravity could. This is how grief falls on her. Thanks for reading! If you enjoy Raising Mothers, please consider making a one-time or recurring contribution to help us remain ad-free. If even a fraction of subscribers signed up to contribute $1 per month, Raising Mothers could be self-sustaining!

Thhuk Pand Te

There was never enough for cab fare so we walked within the small radius of our lives, mum & I. What would decades on; be diagnosed as arthritis first conceived itself as a stretching pain in the back of my knees. I hated walking. Flapping my heels against my butt, I’d slow down, as mum dragged me on and often to sweeten my slog, en route temples or doctors, she’d buy me a large frosted cup of crushed orange ice, knowing already it was surefire laryngitis for my cords, knowing already she was over-budget yet instead of letting me into the gloom of deficit, she’d sugar our stride with mmms and aaahs as I fed her tiny tastes, cold syrup saffroning her tongue with which she’d lick her thumb, count money over and over, hunched at the edge of the bed, darkening the minus symbol at the tally point of her slow calculations. Those nights when she VapoRubbed my neck, massaged warm coconut oil behind my knees I’d mime, taxi, next time and she’d say …

Hardness

Who hardened you like this? Thickets of “protection” fortified around your heart “Protect you from what?” I ask The emptiness in your eyes replied in place of the silence of your lips Resting and waning The tide pulls back viciously Draining the earth around it You give and you take your love away Stow-away for “safekeeping” Closed down so good even you couldn’t find yourself I’d like to believe there was once a spark where your fingertips grazed the curves of life’s edges A glisten in your eye when you spoke life into the ears of the universe Hope in your heart where now hollowness pervades Because to feel nothing is better than to ache I said “What did they take away?” But I meant “What did they leave you with?” A fragment of your own reckoning Without the whisper of desire to put yourself back together again And for what? Time to be filled with emptiness As vapid as the distractions that divide meaning from the meaningless Hope from the hopefulness Empty as the …

Floorboards Hold Memory

The fear of the darkness kept me away from the fuzzy lavender carpet I harken the spirit in me that rather dance the night away That keeps the buried grief at bay That rather explore the unexplained And dance Twirling in the tv light in my fear Ears perked for the footsteps One-two…one-two… the legato beats boom through the base of the floorboards The ceiling above creaks, telling me who’s around the corner by analyzing these beats My dad the offbeat rhythm But no base beats harder and firmer than the steps of my mother’s Who empties her anger into the carpet until it pounds the floorboards Words never spoken, come alive in her walk The way she washes the dishes as if breaking them would be the better solution But her voice barely louder than a whisper so as not to break the eggshells under our feet that linger In the space deep beneath the floorboards It’s safer this way to release the pent-up aggression in words unsaid It’s how I’ve learned to twirl …