a tale | poem inspired by tonya m. foster


A tale

A mother stands on a sidewalk talking

about how she landed

in the unfamiliar row houses of Philadelphia.

A summer story. 1990.

She was riding along a lonely

inappropriate road that only holds

certain shades to certain standards.

She made a wrong left turn and was in the right space.

That sticky sweaty sweetness of coco skin

makes a random bee excited

with bright eyes that she never saw before or

perhaps noticed before. So enthralled with this

typical object of pain, she follows its path to

corner stores, chalk coded games, water hoses as water coolers, music blaring messages of

pride in new sound systems, and five cullud boys drumming

that ball of loose baskets, dripping with excitement and tiredness.

Random passersby call her

by a nickname that she only heard on television. “Sista!” she exclaims

in her tale. Perhaps, they were drawn to her

wayward worries which were illustrated by her

engulfed eyes looking away from their faces, from their boom boxes, from their fist t-shirts

and dark shades many men wore to protect

from the sun, the stares of those who wanted their innate control, dried up tears of last night constant realization.

“They came to me,” she says

like the girl who finally got to go home

after going astray for days, “but

I had to say goodbye because my parents

promised Grandma’s pecan pie.”