Day 8 of 30

MY MOTHER’S HANDS (clearly, I’m a bit obsessed with hands)

My mother’s hands look like
covers on an unmade bed

each skin canal
carrying years of
cotton and catastrophe
and white crap
from the ass of
Jim Crow

three little girls
in the back of a Buick
leaving South Carolina
is there
Washington, DC
is there
Dr. King’s grave
is there
Black people are born
into the mail room
is there
thirteen years for a
college degree
is there
mothering children
that weren’t hers
is there
divorce
is there
cancer
is there

hard times
hard folks trapped between
hard folds

of hands

that when gripping my cheeks
and yanking me in close
for mother-kiss
should scrape and break
skin and leave me
her son
bloody and raw and sad

but those hands
somehow always feel
soft and warm

like covers on an unmade bed

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