~For my mother
Your life before we met is slightly mysterious:
the you of my imagination is otherworldly and striking.
American dream right in front of you
yet you carry dual citizenship, young and black,
hauling a last name you can’t explain.
Native American or slave name,
a distraction from the destruction of your worst days.
Atlanta, early ’60s, lunch counter sit-in—
you were the kind of person who would
run toward a tornado, at least I wished it so.
You understood when to keep your mouth shut
and when to speak up, living by your own logic
of survival, which doesn’t seem to have any
in the face of change. In my head
I have reinvented you a as warrior,
disruptive as a cold snap in spring.
You open in me like a flower,
a constant state of becoming