As My Church Clothes Are Washed


United States
36° 25' 33.6792" N, 77° 43' 20.3376" W

Nana tells me,
‘White people pale ‘cause all they kindness been drained outta ‘em.’
Shushin’ her with the harshness of a kettle at boil,
Is Mama,
Scolding her for fibbin’ to me.
Grunting irritation,
Nana ambles out to sit in the ol’ grayed cedar chair,
That a year ago,
Supported my Pappy’s back,
That seemed to curl in more each day,
Like a dryin’ fall leaf.
Continuing to starch my Sunday dress shirt,
Hearin’ no more of her burdened step,
Mama explains Nana’s bittered,
Like Miss Liddy’s Lipton,
When she makes it herself,
On Mama’s day off.
‘Now don’t you heed Nammie’s mumblings about change neither’
Says that tired Mama o’ mine,
Standing at her oxidizing cast iron sink,
Who unlike her mother-in-law,
Creeking a rockin’ chair in the next room,
Saw no martyr in my father,
Just a man,
Prey to a world with unfavoring rules.
The only change she sees,
Is that in her salary,
That Miss Liddy increased,
By two cents,
Out of appreciation,
Of Mama’s ability to,
Handle all the ‘nonsense’ happenin’ now,
With such graceful indifference.


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