mami, these words are for you

Mon, 02/12/2018 - 23:57 -- suhngka

(There’s no need to start with dear

When Mami is the same thing to me.)


I read a poem in Literature one day

That made me tense, a deer ready to run

Because it cut me

Right down to my soul

Peeled back layers of me

To leave a gaping chasm that dribbled

Stardust and the blackened pulpy remains

of bitter leaves, the kind you boil for medicine.

All of it spilling through my fingers

As I tried to seal myself up.


The poem was “Those Winter Sundays”

By Robert Hayden, about son and father,

(oh. I thought. Mami, you of all people

know how it is with father.)

A house of chronic angers,

Sacrifice ignored, and a void

(no, not the angry throbbing darkness

of hatred that swallows all)

(merely a creeping chill- the absence of love)

I was to write that poem a twin.


That night, you asked what I was working on

My hands darted out to shield those piercing words

Made from that dark essence, scattered with light,

That I’d tried to keep within me, not so long ago.

I ignored your protests, heart firmly hidden

Until you went away, once more

On your own celestial course

With my truths unseen.


I know you, and how you think.

It’s about our family, you thought.

No, Mami, I didn’t write about a silly broken trifle

Held together by Scotch tape,

Or a cracked phone screen, a T.V punched to pieces,

Nothing about our own house of chronic angers.


I wrote about you.

Of the evenings after working two jobs

Where you shake grogginess

Off your limbs and make blue fire blaze

To drive the hunger out of our stomachs.

I wrote of warmth, the golden light of our kitchen,

Of quiet love.


“How could you know, how could you know?”

I ask the reader

For these things are all ours alone.

Maybe someday you’ll read it.

If you do, I wouldn’t ask that

Because, Mami, all this,

You already know of.


This poem is about: 
My family


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