In the sop and swirl of a warm place we were dancers you, your daddy, and I after days of moan and ache. You were the funky plie of bean pies brought from bow tied disciples under the overpass. Daddy was the cool side step of biscuits, grits and salmon croquettes on the lazy days and I was the rolling hip bone of the Christmas Eve gumbo pot and Santa Claus go Straight to the Ghetto You were not made in a slow waltz and curtsy but in the hustle and bump of a kitchen witch and her man. You were created in the sweet swell of a slow drag while al green stirred our pots.
Kelly Norman Ellis is an associate professor of English and director of the MFA in Creative Writing Program at Chicago State University. She is the author of Tougaloo Blues and co-editor of Spaces Between Us: Poetry, Prose and Art on AIDS/HIV, both from Third World Press. Her work has appeared in Crab Orchard Review, Sou’Wester, PMS (Poem, Memoir, Story), Tidal Basin Review, Calyx, and The Ringing Ear. In 2010 Essence Magazine voted her one of their forty favorite poets. She is a Cave Canem Poetry Fellow and founding member of the Affrilachian Poets.
Raising Mothers is a free online literary magazine for BIWOC and non-binary parents of color. As little as $1 a month goes a long way towards supporting our editorial staff and contributors while keeping us ad-free. Become a patron today!