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Our mothers, when asked may speak of us
in terms of our accomplishments.
My daughter is a flower
shedding buds of brown babies.
She holds two diplomas in her fist
as she shows her obliqueness to a world that
only cares for credentials.
What is your claim to fame?
What is your claim to life-
when there are no diplomas to be lauded,
no husbands to be pillared upon, no buds to be babied.
When does the wind blow on your face
and in what direction do you turn
when it rains???
i can tell you
i have shaken rivers
out of my eyes
i have waded eyelash deep
have crossed rivers
have shaken the water weed out
of my lungs
have swam for strength
pulled by strength
through waterfalls with electric beats
i have bore the shocks
of water deep deep
waterlogs are my bones
i have shaken the water free of my hair
have kneeled on the banks
and kissed my ancestors of the dirt
whose rich dark root fingers rose up reached out
grabbed and pulled me rocked me cupped me
gentle strong and firm
made me swim for strength
People die from loneliness.
Life becomes an incurable disease,
a job, an excuse-an operation
of sloppy dissections.
There is a constipation of the
heart, a diarrhea of need. Be-
ing is instinct, the body a
machine-the mind a lever or
the body the lever, the mind the
machine; in either case, operating
and driving on. And skin tightening
up bone until you mouth at the misery
and bargain with the ache. This is
not to say I am giving up, even
though life has pumped me up with