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Mothers Day

By Frank X Walker

When the universe reached out for your daughter's
daughter and she reached out for you, your hands
were too full of furniture to hold her

after U-hauled the heavy weight in your lungs
from one room to the other and back
after you cloaked all the nicotine in your veins
in bubble wrap and tucked it away in the brown box

that is your body, you allowed the tattered wings
of family to escort you uptown, where you landed
like the ghost of a woman in baggage claim who
flew non-stop on Valium and a glass of wine

who admitted aloud that she was afraid, of flight
but not you, who are afraid of nothing, except flying
too low, into a room before the bleeding starts, before
grief gushes prematurely into empty hands

well after the staff deposits the tiny ink footprints
a dead baby and a pink blanket near her bedside
where a white woman's red roses would have been

Added: Monday, June 30, 2014  /  Used with permission.
Frank X Walker
Photo by Patrick J. Mitchell.

The first African American writer to be named Kentucky Poet Laureate, Frank X Walker is Professor of English and African American and Africana Studies at the University of Kentucky in Lexington where he founded pluck! The Journal of Affrilachian Arts & Culture. He has published ten collections of poetry, including Turn Me Loose: The Unghosting of Medgar Evers, which was awarded the 2014 NAACP Image Award for Poetry and the Black Caucus American Library Association Honor Award for Poetry. He is also the author of Buffalo Dance: The Journey of York, winner of the 2004 Lillian Smith Book Award, and Isaac Murphy: I Dedicate This Ride, which he adapted for stage. Voted one of the most creative professors in the south, Walker, a Danville native, coined the term “Affrilachia” and co-founded the Affrilachian Poets. A Cave Canem Fellow, his honors also include a 2004 Lannan Literary Fellowship for Poetry.

Other poems by this author