She was a goodnight prayer, a moon that Shined down on me through her bedroom Window. She was the alphabet, a Sunday School verse, a third Sunday gospel song to Rehearse, a mostly misunderstood exchange Of power, responsibility & commands.
She was a black '73 Ford LTD, a Nottoway River crossing, a house filled with too many Other folks' children, an orphan that life & Death left behind to find some joy. She was A funeral going, everybody in Southampton County knowing, bad manner destroying Pillar of strength.
She was a Friday evening ride to town, a Saturday morning cleaning, a Sunday-go-to- Meeting kind of human being. She laughed Louder than Jim Crow's law & cried softer Than God's peace. She was the secret I never Told, sworn & born for the claiming, the Carrying of some other man & woman's burdens.
She was rare & uncut, unpolished & ripped from Some earthen mine, placed beneath a Sharecropper's vine to bear witness, to bear it all Deep down inside. She was a black hearse, a Deaf man walking, a raising & waving of both Hands. She was thunder; she was lightning, A heavy rain that fell in spring.
She was an informal education, small town Syndication. Her house a book & she the words Penned fervently, permanently on all its pages. She was a Ridley Road scholar, a kitchen where Cooking was always done & well. She was Ms. Shirley, the lunch lady, the bus driver, Daddy's wife, Giver of too much self.
Mama was a Negro spiritual, a hymn hummed from Inside a Baptist Hymnal in her old rocking chair, From a corner of our living room. She was a Wisdom no man could whistle, a fancy no woman Could fake, a journey nobody living in the now Could take. She was an old fashioned lyric Everybody could lift their voice & sing.