To Keep Them Whole

A mother must know when her child is trying to survive. This isn’t the same as when a child struggles, pushes boundaries, rages through growing pains. When a child is trying to survive, a mother must know that to stay still and silent is to do nothing by way of helping her child remain whole, after all, this is what survival is. The very thing … Continue reading To Keep Them Whole

A Lesson on Hair

A smiling white woman with straight golden hair and bright blue eyes leaned across the aisle on the L train to Brooklyn and asked if I had ever thought about conditioning my daughter’s hair. My girl looked magical that day, as she has every day of her life. We were happy in that moment, reveling in our daily ritual of riding the train home from … Continue reading A Lesson on Hair

Flip Flops and Poems

Writing poems is like wearing flip flops. Let me explain before you dismiss the simile and skip this verse. You see, I’m under five feet tall, and chose to walk most of my life in heels, the highest I could find, from when I turned sixteen until the summer I became a mother, and wore nothing but flip flops because Jamaica is hot and because … Continue reading Flip Flops and Poems

Perspective

She says he left her for another girl, won’t answer her calls and texts, told her not to bother him, that there is nothing to talk about; he just doesn’t love her anymore. She hasn’t eaten or slept since Friday night, she says, hasn’t stopped crying, can barely speak through all the sobbing now, five days after he left her for another girl. I want … Continue reading Perspective

An Accidental Poem

Taught five classes, although it was a day of games to celebrate the end of the trimester, spoke to two parents, prevented a hell of a fight, at least for today, stayed back for an hour to talk a kid through a hardship I couldn’t see myself endure, picked up the kid from school, rode the train home, thirty-five minutes of a six-year-old spinning sentences … Continue reading An Accidental Poem

Dear Me

Dear me, yesterday: A student will say something that will burn more than a slap across the face when what you’re expecting is a hug. Don’t let her words cut you; she intends nothing but relief from her own wounds. Dear me, fifteen years ago: You will be loved, although you’ll continue to struggle with loving yourself. Believe it. Claim it. Hold onto it, even … Continue reading Dear Me

First Kiss

Today, in school, you kissed a boy, and held his hand, another moment in this place, where you live a life that is your own, away from my gaze and counsel, existing in my own imagination, like a mosaic inside a kaleidoscope, always shifting, always changing too quickly, as fragmented and hurried as the stories you share about your days, and ones I hear from … Continue reading First Kiss