home will come when heaven slums will king her queen

home will come when heaven slums will king her queen | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

"The Kitchen" by James McNeill Whistler, 1858. Courtesy of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Mother woke
before early, daily
tired Black
and white uni-
form sore feet
dish rag hands
cooked mornings
for her family
powdered her cheeks
with Aunt Jemima,
and applied Mrs. Butterworth
on her lips drops of mother
mixed with soap
bubbles, yawn
flying magic
dirty saucers
shine lemon
kitchen floors, fresh
fruit spins on counter-
beats from a vintage blender
Bills buff her in
to the glass table
with Windex and prayer
I give it all to you Lord

hugged her
son running off
to integrate a white
charter school
She walked miles
to her second job,
shifts of ofays
unaware of her
bended knees
Fifty-seven padded wet room
sheets, used
rubbers, soiled
constipate toilets
Gospel, jazz and Cosby
harmonized with the chorus
in the vacuum
Mother swept dirt
devils out the back
door the colored
Spotless mirror
no one noticed
and walked over her
for a towel

Rashaad Thomas is a husband, father, United States Air Force veteran, essayist, and poet.
Explore Related Content