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Out of her body came 10

2 died

They were lucky


Out of her body

Came a mop

And bucket

All of her daughters would

Disappoint her

As daughters do


She would birth life and death


Unbroken rings of poverty

And madness


I’m still fearful of that woman

Who never showed herself

As vulnerable

Or kind


Threads of spirit lived

She lived

Something has to still live


Out of her body

Came an alcoholic

A belligerent retired army nurse

And a somewhat self sufficient



They would marry,

Bury husbands, have daughters

Never sons


Grandmother I’m not going to heaven

To see you

But I want to believe in that God

See a whitened version of us

In his paradise.


I want to find you by the river

Singing your lonely gospels to virgins

As they are feeding fat men.


I want to find you

Clutching your white dress

Waiting for your turn to serve

A white man

That will give you

No rest.


I find you in some kitchen

Unable to stand

Hunched over an oven

God’s children are so impatient


You grip that cast iron

In heaven

God’s children want more

You stand over that stove

Cornbread with bacon,

Grits with butter and honey


Even in heaven, Jesus needs a



And you crippled, tired Black woman

Stand next to crippled tired Indian woman

Stand next to crippled tired Indigenous woman

Stand next to rows and rows and rows of crippled tired women

Hunched over stoves

Or finding their reflection in God’s toilet


Lonnie Mae, wasn’t this supposed to be different

Haven’t we suffered enough

We believed and we sacrificed

We bled

We did the best we could


God promised us.

He promised us

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