Okay so this would be draft three of this poem. I think, knock on wood, that this may be it. It's symmetrical, and not too sentimental to the point of redundant or afterschool special. I don't read it tomorrow and say otherwise though. Nonetheless, here it is.
WILLING BACK GRANDMOTHER
If I flew an airplane into interrupted space
and made a big enough dent in time, I could
get her back on Sunday greasing my scalp,
tearing through parted tufts of hair, fiercely
weaving the wildness together, whipping
my fingers with the wooden brush if I felt
the tender spots were she pulled too hard.
She said man cannot live by bread alone so
she'd make codfish and callaloo greens. But
who's going to make them for me now? Who's
going to wash them and steam them just so?
Lay them out in front of me? Cuss me when I
don't eat them? Lash me with a switch from the
cherry bush when I bawl I don't want to eat them?
I stand for long whiles watching her gravestone,
commanding her memory to rush out from
behind me and cut me with its eyes or slap
the openness of my cheek or fret when school's
long been out, and night has fell, watching the tip
of Belleview Heights Hill for a skinny brown girl
walking with her shadow towards the house.
This material is copyrighted. Small quotes or citations are permissible with the permission of the author. Any attempt to reproduce the above material will indefinitely result in lawsuit.