Poetry | December 11, 2020
Poems: Jamaica Baldwin
Let me go back to my father
in the body of my mother the day he told her,
Having black children won’t save you when the revolution comes.
Let me do more than laugh,
like she did.
Let me go back to my mother and do more
than roll my eyes when she tells me,
I think deep down, in a past life, I was a black blues singer.
My mother remembers the convent
where she worked after I was born;
the nuns who played with me while she cleaned.
My father remembers the bedroom window
of their first apartment; his tired body
climbing through. It was best,
they agreed, if she signed the lease alone.
the myths of violence that surround the black male
body protect the white female body
from harm. I conclude race was not
not a factor in my parent’s attraction.
I am the product of their curiosity, their vengeance, their need.
They rescued each other from stories scripted
onto their bodies. They tasted forbidden and devoured each other
Let me build a house
where their memories diverge.
Let me lick clean
If you are a student, faculty member, or staff member at an institution whose library subscribes to Project Muse, you can read this piece and the full archives of the Missouri Review for free. Check this list to see if your library is a Project Muse subscriber.
Want to read more?Subscribe Today
SEE THE ISSUE
May 17 2022
You Will Be Ready / Total Hysterectomy There will be days in this medical experience when you feel like you’re the only citizen of Pluto, landed right in the
May 16 2022
Tree of Life Translated from the Slovenian by Brian Henry I was born in a field of grain and snapped my fingers. White chalk crossed the green blackboard. Dew
May 16 2022
Counterweight In the fall, the garden folds in on itself—grand stalk of kale on the ground like a wilted chandelier, still green tomatoes that missed their chance at red