North and South

There is thin space between North and South

A razor’s edge, the difference

Between freedom

And spilt blood

Mason-Dixon Line.

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Inheritance

Maybe the question never was

What kind of woman would I be?

Maybe the question always was

When would I become her?

It’s not just my wide hips that jostle crowds

I am not only loud

I am too loud

“Tone it down”

“Shh, shh”

“We hear you”

But do you?

You hear but

Completely miss the message

And so

I have to keep repeating

Repeating

Repeating

On volume 11

That well-behaved women

Rarely make history

And that I am not merely me

The Susanne you see

Of here and now

That you are shushing

Into the white noise background

I am a woman of two generations before

Who raised 5 children

Only to meet her demise

At the hands of her own ovaries

She didn’t say much.

I’ve already made up for her in pages and pages

Of journals that may never be read but

At least I said it.

More so than her,

I am

Eulalia and Marie

Sweet, mellifluous

Eulalia

Pretty as the tinkling of crystal,

Not half as fragile

Pulled her nieces and nephews

Up through the mud,

Multiplication, and division

Just to keep their brown butts

In school

Smart as the school-teacher whip she cracked.

Made no bones about it

No excuses either

For that cocky way

She wore her Sunday hat

It always said

“You better believe

I’m here

And

Don’t you forget it neither”

The other half of the dynamic duo:

Marie

Sweet-pea Marie

Watch out now

She’ll scrub you

‘till your sins shine

She wielded her power

With bars of Octagon soap

Distilling the best

Out of you

In the tin tub

Full of corn water

From the evening meal

I am her dreams that never were

The granbaby girl

She got but never knew

Before dementia left her

Mind a moth-eaten mess

I am the college degree

Big city girl

With so many hopes

I don’t know where to

Hang my hat

I am volume 11

“Is this thing on?”