Two Poems in the Skinny School by Maura Alia Badji

Madiba Lives

How many life-times were you able to conjure,
create, or conquer in your one immortal life?

Madiba
Nelson
Husband-Father
Activist-Icon
Madiba
Target-Prisoner
Sign-Wonder
Man
Madiba

In your one immortal life, how many lifetimes
were you able to create, conjure, or conquer?

***

Bicentennial Moment: Family trip, NY to Miami, 1976, at an Alabama rest stop where the dried kudzu hung like ghost limbs in the trees and my Afro showed its red highlights in the Southern sun.

Why’nt you git on over here, yella nigger gal, and exercise this here patch on my overalls, said the larger of the two bearded white men, when they stepped out of their confederate-flag-festooned truck as I opened the door to my father’s station-wagon to join my family in the diner, that suddenly looked like sanctuary, and my hearing snapped off like a radio with terrible reception.

Gun-rack-loaded
Deaf-stricken
Terror-frozen
Forced-motion
Gun-rack-loaded
Drunk-hunters
Spit-like-poison
Eyes-ahead
Gun-rack-loaded

When they stepped out of their confederate-flag-festooned truck as I opened the door to my father’s station-wagon to join my family in the diner that suddenly looked like sanctuary and my hearing snapped off like a radio with terrible reception, the larger of the two bearded white men said, Why’nt you git on over here, yella nigger gal, and exercise this here patch on my overalls.

Maura Alia Badji
5/29/2016

MABGrayscaleheadshot

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