ancient scripture

how do we exhume the stories
that have died
under our mothers’ tongues

the veiled accusations in each i love you
the pleas behind every what time will you be home

i’ve watched grandmothers love their men
and learned to listen for the whispers between the lines

i’ve learned that this
[black] love we worship
so often relies on some kinds of lies

wrapped up in the circles that
[black] grandfathers form
with their brothers and their sons

stitched carefully into the lining of
[black] grandmothers’ coats
passed from sisters to daughters

scratched forcefully into the
[black] palms blistering open
over dry stubborn land

tucked into the calloused
[black] hands folded
on soft [black] laps

giving the only kind of love
they know how to give

can it not only be magic
how much a [black] woman’s love
can conceal?

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