when a fire crown splits the body,
a thumb-print mark emerges,
unspooling into the dna strands of all generations
your body nests – ova within ova within ova, all possibilities
and promise of an eye fleck that remains yours –
you are changed.
you will never stop being mother. never stop distilling ocean
water for sweet or carrying the weight of child.
in this swell and expanding oscillation of waddle,
i have learned this lesson and can conjure
the truth pain forward. no matter the distance or years,
both in their reaching shadows,
i will always know the press of my child’s foot,
the imprint on innards to bleeding.
at the border, your son is torn from your back
that carried him from his father’s beaten erasure,
desert desiccation, all the vulnerabilities of travel
without country among the bloody-mouthed.
in this place of freedom, you lose your son to chain links,
his easy laugh and tinkling bell voice.
after weeks, you find the right number to call,
find his timbre changed, heavy with something happened.
he is not the boy who never touched ground.
he is a child spiked through with American steel,
his throat-song ground to tinny clink.
i’m supposed to console you, supposed to stand with
as comadre. what can consolation mean here? “the mitigation
of grief or anxiety” coming from “Old French consolacion ‘solace,
comfort; delight, pleasure’” there is no solace
in the slow flay of flesh, the violent stripping
of child from mother. so i offer this:
this is the suffering meal; let us dine together
until we succor divided hearts,
sweetsweetmilk and honey to nurture your Darwin
and all other children who see the revolution coming,
the other half a wicked brilliance in devastation.
we will teach the children to survive and flaunt
their shining to bitter the mouths
of their concentration camps tenders.
we will teach the children to tear down
fences, walls, borders, and plant defiant
lush trees that will not be moved, will propagate,
will change the earth verdant,
a consolation born in generations.
1* Online Etymology Dictionary
2* The son of Beata Mejía Mejía who was taken from her after a three-week journey to seek asylum in the United States. She eventually filed a federal lawsuit against several governmental agencies after a month of separation. She was reunited with her son two days after her lawsuit was filed.
The son of Beata Mejía Mejía was taken from her after a three-week journey to seek asylum in the United States. She eventually filed a federal lawsuit against several governmental agencies after a month of separation. She was reunited with her son two days after her lawsuit was filed. This poem was inspired by news articles about her fight and a prompt by Patricia Smith at the VONA workshop in which I had to write a poem of consolation to mothers affected by the removal of their children or rather, their kidnapping by the federal government. At the time of that poetic charge, I was 38 weeks pregnant with my first child.