Before

Before Big Mama died, before
she forgot her daughter's name-
my weeping cousin with eyes
dark as caves, before she forgot
her dearest Big Papa, forgot
how to dip her hands deep into
flour and lard to make her
pineapple upside-down pound cake,
before she forgot how kisses fierce
as a cyclone's roar used to feel
and before her glass angels
flew off with her best lamps,
sofa, four poster bed, and her Bible,
Big Mama had her vision.
Her seventeen year old grandson;
hair fallen out from chemo, leg
taken earlier by cancer, skin
thin as parchment on his dying bed,
tubes now draining his life more
than giving; her Michael, son
of my dark-eyed weeping cousin, rose
from his bed, walked to her house
in the night , whole again, and kissed her.
He kissed her then slid through a space
filled with yellow and gold sparkling lights
to kiss his dark-eyed weeping mother,
and they joined hands together in a circle,
the kind of circle that can never be broken.
Not even when bodies and minds fail.


Pris Campbell
2006


Published in OCHO  2006



Graphic: Pris Campbell


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