Friday, October 30, 2020

The Little Miracles by Malika Booker

The Little Miracles

After ‘A Winter Night’ by Tomas Tranströmer (translated by Robin Robertson)
Since I found mother collapsed on the kitchen
floor, we siblings have become blindfolded mules
harnessed to carts filled with strain, lumbering
through a relentless storm, wanting to make
our mother walk on her own again, wanting to rest
our palms on her left leg and arm like Jesus, but
constellations do not gather like leaves in a teacup,
so what miracle, of what blood, of what feeble wishes
do we pray, happy no nails hammer plywood, building
a coffin, to house her dead weight, happy her journey
crawls as we her children hold on like drought holds out
for rain, learning what it is like to begin again, start
with the, the, the dog, the cat, the date, the year, the
stroke, the brain, the fenced in walls, she struggles
to dismantle brick on brick. She cannot break this,
we reason, watching her left hand in her lap, a useless
echo. We chew bitter bush, swallow our howling storm,
reluctantly splintering under the strain of our mother’s
ailing bed-rest. We smile at each of her feats: right hand
brushing her teeth in late evening, head able to lift
without the aid of a neck-brace, her off spring’s names
Malika, Phillip and Kwesi are chants repeated over
and over as if staking us children as her life’s work,
her blessings, showing how much we are loved. The days
she sings walk with me oh my Lord, over and over, walk
with me oh my Lord, through the darkest night… and I sing
with her, my tones flat to her soprano, just as you changed
the wind and walked upon the sea, conquer, my living Lord,
the storm that threatens me, and we sing and sing until
she says, Maliks, please stop the cat-wailing before
you voice mek rain fall, and look how the weather nice
outside eh! Then we laugh and laugh until almost giddy,
our mood light momentarily in this sterile room, where
each spoonful of pureed food slipped into her mouth
like a tender offering takes us a step away from feeding
tubes, and we are so thankful for each minuscule miracle.

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