Motherless Children

How many ways do I want to kill this woman, this young bureaucrat at the Office of Social Services, for wanting to kill me? Kill me slowly by degrees, kill me with provisions, kill me in measured words, kill my mother by rubbing her sad life with my father in her face. O, how this woman, bored, dulled by repetition, wants my mother officially rendered inert, reduced to a mere boarder in a broken-down ghetto house, how she wants the word bastard to define our conversation.
What did I say or do? Who knows, but I do know this look she’s giving me, after telling me that there’s no place for my mother’s well-being in their guidelines, that as far as they’re concerned, she isn’t even legally a part of my family. I know this look. This woman wants to observe a screamer, a ripper, she wants her dreams of a babbling monkey to rise.
Blow up, she whispers, as she explains what she isn’t going to do for me, how my father’s bound to disappear, item by item, first his house, then his cars, then all his money except for what it takes for a pine box and a hole.
She thinks she’s the facts of life, a wall with no apparent handholds, the river referred to in the old spirituals: deep, wide, fraught with many sorrows, and her eyes dare me to become a nigger and kick over the table.

: Cornelius Eady, You Don’t Miss Your Water (1995)

1 comment:

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