Under the Coconut Tree

Rock, back and forth

Forth and back

Back and forth under the coconut tree…

Little sobs disappear into the abundance of my bosom as salty rivers soak my shirt,

Perhaps the only I shall have for years to come.

So I rock back and forth with the wind, perhaps to console my little one, perhaps to console my broken heart. I cannot tell one from the other, rain from sunshine, darkness from light anymore. Each leaves a queer taste in my mouth, like he did as he walked out of our, no, my door…

Carrying a shirt and that accursed stereo of his that played many a song back when I was somewhat strong. Before he took my heart into his rough hand and struck me down with the other. Before I became that which they call a woman of none and a mother to those they call children of none.

Back and forth under the coconut tree.

I set my young one in his crib and ask the elder to watch over him as he breathes his magical rhythm. My beautiful ones…Mama has to go to the market now. Oh wait, mama is my name now. Only yesterday would I have looked in the mirror and named the reflection Lilly, or Jasmine and sometimes Mary. But now, I am mama. And mama has to go to town, smile her way through the day and place food in her babies’ bellies. Mama has to brave the whispers of other mamas with bands of faded copper on their fingers who fear that their men might be stolen. Mama has to brave the uncouth leering of godless men who think mama has no pride in her ample chest. Mama has to be mama and daddy because daddy carried his shirt and stereo out of her door. Mama has to go to the market now.

 And so I go to the market, wearing my most brilliant yet humble smile. Swinging my hips in my most proud yet subtle manner. And I buy my beautiful ones a papaya and chicken, because I like to see their skins glow and their bellies swell a little in contentment. My beautiful ones, no one else’s.

Who does mama belong to? No one, that’s who. She’s just mama, not Lilly or Jasmine or Mary.

I rock back and forth

Forth and back

Back and forth under the coconut tree, salty oceans draining from my eyes into my stomach.

Mama never cries.

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