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“I worked hard so my girls didn’t have to serve nobody else like I did except God”

after Elizabeth Clark-Lewis

Candy-colored bulbs frame a girl for a holiday.

If the wicked call from the other side, she doesn’t hear. Blinds shut. Devices

blink & twitter. Before it’s too late, her mother snaps a picture—anticipates

angst & oddly angled aches, strawberry letters. “Whatevers.”

The mother will mark the photo tomorrow. Sign. Seal. “We’re all well!”

—one of the last acceptable print messages. Meanwhile, “Soup

for dinner, again?” What else? It’s winter. Herbal constellations swivel in froth. Stir.

She samples with a lean near bowing. Steam on closed eyelids.

Mothers ought to give thanks.

Simeon, she thinks instead, & then: her long-gone grandmother’s

tattered Bible, the daughter’s overdue library book

concerning States’ rights. Why’s that? She’s hardly felt

hated. X’s & O’s glow in the daughter’s palm Look

how easy, the daughter often says. She is patient with her mother. Blessed

be the child at the center of snow & flu season. She flew past

blessings long ago. So far from a little girl, really.

from You Don’t Have to Go to Mars for LoveFind more by Yona Harvey at the library

Copyright © 2020 Yona-Harvey
Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, LLC on behalf of Four Way Books.

Published in Poems Yona Harvey

This program is supported in part by a grant from the Idaho Humanities Council, a State-based program of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this (publication, website, exhibit, etc.) do not necessarily represent those of the Idaho Humanities Council or the National Endowment for the Humanities.