In yesterday’s post, “Looking for Love and Finding it in our Foremothers”, I talked about my discovery of the lives of my Great Grandmother, Susan Bean, and her parents, Martha and Thomas Bean. I spoke about the love that I imagined Martha and Thomas Bean had for each other. Below, is a poem I wrote for Martha Bean.
Martha Don’t you Moan
For my Great-Great Grandmother, Martha Bean
I heard you speak to me from the tobacco fields you worked
and gave birth in
time and time again.
Your voice came to me;
your words poetic
and spoken in the cadence of your mother’s West African tongue.
You whispered so sweetly
the name of your lover
who walked in the night,
passed the unspeakable,
passed the unthinkable,
passed the unimaginable . . .
passed narratives told only in the dark
and passed stories forgotten by morning
(because the memories hurt too much when spoken aloud).
He showed up enough times to make your belly swollen
one, two, three, four
on the nights he couldn’t make it,
you closed your eyes and breathed in air
you imagined he shared only a few miles
He came back.
He always came back.
He always came back
when he didn’t have to leave
Copyright 2011 Christie Williams