Monday, March 27, 2006

Before

Before Big Mama died, before
she forgot her daughter's name-
my weeping cousin with eyes
dark as caves, before she forgot
her dearest Big Papa, forgot
how to dip her hands deep into
flour and lard to make her famous
pineapple upside-down pound cake,
before she forgot how kisses fierce
as the thunder's roar used to feel
and before her glass angels
flew off with her best lamps,
sofa, four poster bed, and her Bible,
Big Mama had her vision.
Her seventeen year old grandson;
hair fallen out from chemo, leg
taken earlier by cancer, skin
thin as parchment on his dying bed,
tubes now draining his life more
than giving; her Michael, son
of my dark-eyed weeping cousin, rose
from his bed, walked to her house
in the night , whole again, and kissed her.
He kissed her then slid through a space
filled with yellow and gold sparkling lights
to kiss his dark-eyed weeping mother,
and they joined hands together in a circle,
the kind of circle that can never be broken.
Not even when bodies and minds fail.

12 comments:

Erin said...

Thank you for the goosebumps.

Pat Paulk said...

Pris, this is beautiful!

Pris said...

Thank you, both. My dying cousin did indeed appear to both whole the night before the day he died and was carrying the same object, which I didn't mention in the poem and said the same words to each.

Geoff Sanderson said...

This sounded so authentic, I guessed it must have been written 'from life'. You draw a wonderful picture of Big Momma, and a chilling picture of the victim. G.

Pris said...

Thanks, G...yes, my second cousin's loss was a blow to us all, as is any death that young.

jitney said...

excellent, pris. i arrive here to stop in for a second and get the lay of the land, and all of a sudden here is this great poem looming up before me and i have to gasp and mumble yes yes oh yes.

Pris said...

Hey, I'm glad you stopped by. If you come back, tell me how I can look at your blog. I clicked on your profile and it says private, so...no link to your blog.

And thanks!

Michael Parker said...

Oh, it's been so fun reading the comments here. I agree with them all! Visually alive.

Pris said...

hi michael
thanks! i'm glad you liked and hope the evening brings you more rest. that job is keeping you running!

burning moon said...

Wow Pris, this is wonderful!

Queen Neetee said...

This piece put a face onto love.

It goes beyond a feel of it and places a serious claim for it in the name of Big Mama.

Her hands that mettled around in flour and lard and conjured up a sweetness that derived from her in the form of a pineapple upside-down pound cake seemed to have spread love onto all that was around her.

I absolutely love this! It's brilliant and so sweet. You wrote this so that we could all know a little bit of Big Mama and share the love and I thank you for it.

Pris said...

Thanks, both of you. And yes, Big Mama was very special indeed. BTW, she passed me down her recipe for the cake and it's delicious, but I've always found that it lacks something that hers had. I'm sure it's the essence of Big Mama.