a tale | poem inspired by tonya m. foster
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.”