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Mother’s Day in Summer’s Snow

Mother's Day poem by Greg Powell dedicated to Joetta Powell

Mother’s Day in Summer’s Snow

As those last memories
Of those emaciated words
Your life’s summation sowed
As umbilical legacy into mine
Your first born: I’ll be alright
After a while. And you knew this
By faith and not by sight
That like dandelion sprinkling
Seed as white as the cotton
You picked as a little girl
Sickly in the field of slaves
Falsely called citizens
Somehow Mama Veessa told you
In counsel and pea shucking hymns
And midnight prayers to freedom God
You gonna be alright, somehow,
After a while; before sending you
On refugee migration to Chicago
Because ain’t nothing for you here
But cotton speckled red with blood
Cotton speckled red with blood
Cotton bleeding lynched dreams
Cotton tombs for shackled souls

And in the years since you been gone
It’s come to be alright, after a awhile
Your love alive in memories
Like dandelions sprinkling seed white
As cotton, or summer snowflakes
My boyhood legs, arms reaching for sky
Would chase when you let me out to play

I have known nothing but love and its power
Knowledge framed by you, from womb to
Now: the love I live for; radical compassionate
Impulse to help somebody somewhere somehow
Maybe even everybody, somewhere, somehow
To your God’s glory, and response to your
Midnight prayers. Your first born’s migration
From blood cotton transplanted to blood concrete
to liberation to live in purpose and poetry
about nothing but love and its power

memories come now, like summer snowflakes
dancing on air before my eyes
dimmer now, but can see more
even of you. Memory fragments:
fragrance of kitchen improvisations
mingling with music in my room
the hum of your voice: Walk with me Lord
Walk with me, while I’m on this
Tedious journey…
Your voice awakening me in wee hours
Churning prayers over my seeking soul
The kindness of your face, reflecting you
The blue suit you sewed for eighth grade dance
And all the patches to cover my knees
Your sigh in the birthroom
When your firstborn son
And his firstborn son locked eyes
Eyes to newborn eyes
You and dad, fussing and loving
Hands gently woven through life and even now
So far beyond what I can see
All of it, beyond the ambition of poetry
To capture lives interwoven like your hands

I don’t cry as much these Mother’s Days.
Because Mama you were right:
After awhile…

Dedicated to Joetta Powell

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