After Kara Walker’s “A Subtlety, or the Marvelous Sugar Baby”

by Ramya Ramana
a. sphinx at the refinery made me feel i am whole all by myself 
b. my mom apologizes ever time someone asks a question
a. the sphinx’s back broke like seasons but she was grizzly throughout the year 
b. my mom raids her own heart every day by looking in the mirror
a. the sphinx taught me life lessons just like when you get comfortable with the waves, a tsunami hits 
b. my mom taught me that a woman’s space is learning how not to take up any
a. i wish the sphinx was my mother
b. my mother sometimes acts like a child 
a. the sphinx is getting taken away by the white man
b. i say sorry at the beginning and end of every conversation
a. the white man is going to talk about her sweetly, as if she went down without a fight
b. my mother is a sweet woman. she looks even prettier after suicide attempts
a. the sphinx had fists for eyes, looked like a revolution was living inside of her
b. people say I have a sweet face like mother. i am always scared to hear this
a. i’ve had a history of white people taking things away from me
b. my mom says I should eat more papaya, said it makes your skin lighter
a. the lady who i want to be my mother is going to die
b. my mother has died long before I was born
a. the sphinx is already melting before she’s being taken away
b. i still say sorry in the beginning and end of every conversation