Tuesday Poem

A Stonehold

she was the great baby sitter — tall dignified
rich warm brown

we’d scream her name pretend to be endangered
run and hide in mama’s clothes closet
she’d search house and yard
get angry and upset when she couldn’t find us
we’d pop out laughing while
she scolded us for wolfing

delicately she reported on our bursts into puberty
and experiments in sex

on visits to her home she made us family
after play with her nieces and nephews fed us
the best tuna sandwiches on the planet

love and love always for the only person
to ever comb my thick black kinks
without taking my hair out
in handfuls

i loved her coffee stained teeth flashing gold
her thick british honduras croon
how she always called her lover “Mr.”

so pretty inside
there was a joy about her i had to be a woman
to understand

by Wanda Coleman
from Mercurochrome, 2001