|AP Photo/Phil Coale|
Old Pictures and Black Walls
By Octavia McBride-Ahebee *1985
Old pictures whisper through cracked
and faded ink,
through haze and lack of photographers’ skill
of the lazy eye you carried,
cold and clear and lonely
-like a child’s abandoned marble upon
a face a blade had no need to tread.
It is the cherry blossom season,
the sun is standing high and hot,
the heat and fragrance rub against the other
trying to fool me into feeling
that the simple swinging scent
of a cherry blossom in flight
wrapped in the warmth of a benign ray
can forgive all that is ugly with its sweet self.
To think that we are same in age
you in death and me in life
with flat stomachs as hard as the head of a hammer,
with corned-covered feet as long and as well traveled
as Broad Street,
with fears as big and heavy as an African elephant
inspires simple yet frenzied fantasies
like me cupping in the palm of my hand
just for the hell of it
your high Cherokee cheekbone
or pressing my parted lips against it
and saying good day Daddy.
But I stand firm and full of fury
like the sun
before this great black wailing wall,
then I see the name that numbs me
I walk my knuckle in the
carved crevice of your name
thinking who but a generous mother
would give such a gift as your name.
I took my thoughts and inhaled them
along with the scent of cherry blossoms and the heat.