Poetry and Poetics
Look at that hat, my mother might have said,
Sitting in that bunker the living room had become,
Her favorite shows interrupted by the sight
Of this woman, who once sang my sister through
One of her major heartbreaks—an I give then
With a truth which rose through the house—I was too young
To know which kind of truth, really, and my sister
Was now learning the words—her belly would swell from it—
Ain’t no way, aint no way, sang the girl who was slightly
Older than my sister, old enough to teach it,
Ain’t no way, ain’t no way
The needle scratched, and scratched again.
It’s not too far-fetched to think of it breaking skin,
A rush of something toxic, tear-raising
Remember when she didn’t want to tell us
But told us by playing that damn record all day
Over and over in her bedroom, that’s the woman under
That hat I’d tell my mother, if she’d asked.
That church hat.
That black woman’s hat.
That testimony hat.
© by Cornelius Eady
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