She wasn’t easy, is a thing we say
about someone we love. My father
says this about his mother. Grandmother’s
words could cut you from the far side
of a room, well into her last years.
The expressions on her face were widely
reported. It wasn’t necessarily the content
of the opinion, although, it was sometimes,
but how it was packaged and delivered
to your door. One might say she had a flair
for language, if it was a Trini ole-talking.
Which is why I had little choice but to laugh,
one of the last times I saw her,
lustrous as velvet in her dark brown flesh,
recalling me, under the glare of early dementia,
as a lovely little darkie, in a more fragile
voice than the one bellowing into my girlhood,
Fatty-Fatty-Boom-Boom. Her smile hanging
off the long vowel, like a cat’s tail, upturned
to the moon. You see; it’s a miracle I still love
rhyme, the coincidence of language and time.
Copyright © 2022 by Omotara James. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on August 10, 2022, by the Academy of American Poets.