HEAVY IN MY JESUS YEAR


I am of a nation of disbelievers. One of many
who only comes to geography by traveling.
Rhodesia became Zimbabwe, so they told me
the mothering instinct would come.

 

The stick turned a hesitant blue.

 

Cabbages, sweet onions, garlic, cayenne, and
beans.  In some Third World nightmare,
women calling themselves friends admonished me to
straight-arm all comfort foods.

 

Brown women everywhere howled their sympathies.

 

You are born.  The telling is easier when I forget
the gibbous bloom of your crown cut free of living rock:
Broken waters, fever, infection.  Even flawed logic can be valid.
Pain has no reason, but to give it voice.

 

A gasp.  Months, no sleep.  I dreamt of leaving your father.

 

Stretch marks mar my breasts like muck in a dry river-
bed—forsaken places made sane by a red August
heat.  This summer, a woman with my face did the
unspeakable, she crucified the last fairytale.