Beatitudes of My Mother: IX of Infinite Parts
by Bethel S. Moges
I. O mom
I’m so so sorry
I wear my mother’s gold
around this short neck she gave me
these dainty wrists
gold around my slender fingers
this ring from her church auction
my mother’s gold in this strange nose only we have,
our deeper-on-the-right-side wide-set grin
both sets of my cheeks from my mama
my mother’s gold in this chocolate clear complexion
curls she spent her life combing
her life washing
her life braiding
I hold my mother's gold when I travel,
introduce myself to new people,
embrace the ones I love,
She gives her gold, my mother,
as if it were a thing from which she is made.
I've come into a good deal.
III. How terrifying the thought
of protecting my mother.
I want(ed), so badly, to be woman;
ready and present in all things.
considering the mother, understanding the father?
I suppose there is, indeed, no way to prepare for parenthood.
I was, aren’t we are all, bound to repeat them,
hurt and be hurt by
so why not me
Those things I adore most about myself
and those I decry
are reflections of you
V. To be a “good mother”, it seems, is always to be punishable.
How many times have I sobbed
in your lap
for the wretched daughter I have been?
And you, amused.
I do not understand your depths.
unsolicited fruit salads and advice,
“You are a woman with a future; wear gloves when you wash the dishes.”
In the history of humanity and Divinity and cosmos
What grace has this been,
To be born unto you?
IX. My superpowers include:
asking my mother to pray for you.
Bethel S. Moges: "I'm a student and an educator and a writer in Los Angeles, CA (though I've never been all of those things in the same city). Academically, my work has focused on the intersections of immigration and nation-building. I am in the process of widening my lens to examine the role of art and creativity in community and space making. As a hobby, I run an IG account called @BlackRadicalMuseumEnthusiasm.