He Ain’t Done Nothin’

A boy was shot Lay in a pool of blood Outside a grocery store On a New York City corner While the milk he had bought Flowed reluctantly into its own puddle And sobs and sirens blasted Piercing Ear drums Windows The dark night Every one of the boy’s dreams His mother’s heart The heart of every woman mothering a black son Is my child … Continue reading He Ain’t Done Nothin’

The Promise of an Apricot

You run up the steps, Swing open the door that’s never locked, Wash your hands. You’ve touched everything on the walk home from school– Wired fences, Gates, Benches, Tree barks, Plants breaking through bricks and concrete, A stranger’s gum stuck to your shoe. It’s glued the smell of strawberries To your fingertips. You’re out of breath. There’s homework to be done before You can run … Continue reading The Promise of an Apricot

Ode to My Daughter’s Other Half

Mama, can you please tell me Some stories about Armenia? My daughter asks No doubt perplexed As always By all she knows of Jamaica Having traveled to the island Thrice Swum in her waters Climbed her hills Heard her songs Her father’s tongue Tasted the goat and mango Fish and hard dough Oxtail and sugar cane Since birth (Albeit on the island of Manhattan) And … Continue reading Ode to My Daughter’s Other Half

A Mother’s Plea

No, my son isn’t lucky There’s no fortune in losing one’s mother and father Sisters, brothers, neighbors Grandmothers, grandfathers Cousins, uncles, and aunts This is the village he had to lose To be my son No, I didn’t give him a life He already had one He was a soul on a journey The next leg of which required me To conduct the train His … Continue reading A Mother’s Plea

That Night in Riverside Park

Someone once told me I didn’t love like an American She wasn’t able to explain Didn’t try Only laughed the American laugh I’ve yet to learn So twenty-one years later I still wonder what it takes To love like an American Is it enough to have loved in English For a quarter of a century? Is it enough that I don’t collapse At the sight … Continue reading That Night in Riverside Park

May It Be So

May a fierce lesbian poet I love  Speak words of resistance Loudly enough to usher in Another life for my rebel spirit  May there be drums and doodook To summon ancestors  To honor ancient wisdoms Of departing May there be ackee and dolma And Belgian chocolate ice cream  My husband knows just the one May there be music  Nina Simone  Her rebel songs  Marvin Gaye … Continue reading May It Be So

Speaking of Love

Mama, ty menya lyubish? Do you love me? I used to ask my mother In Russian As if this were a thing to be explored In the cerebrally acquired of our two tongues  I hadn’t yet discovered English  In which speaking of love is so effortless  That all the talk has made love trite Armenian is a language of ancient truths Not petty inquiries and … Continue reading Speaking of Love