Child by Heather A. Davis

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Child by Heather A Davis
Illustration by Sue Babcock

Narrated by Heather A. Davis


I hear them whisper about us.
            I see my momma
                        I hear her accent
and I know that some people don’t like
where she comes from.

She sits at the table with her coffee
and with that sadness in her eyes
                        she thinks I don’t see.
So I take her hand,

and as we catch lightening bugs
and see the stars in the night sky,
we ground our feet in grass
to remind us that the earth is ours too.

We spy galaxies that take us far away from here
because she is from far away from here,
and it reminds her that we are found.

She turns the news off, and laughs great laughs
of future hope and reads me stories of adventure
            but not about princesses, because she says
            my greatness doesn’t depend on being rescued.

She lets me finish the stories, and I can see
the endings this way:
            I know people hurt each other.
            I know they told us to go back home.
            I know he left us.
            I know they kill our men or lock them behind bars or walls
            and our men kill us and lock us behind bars and walls
                        of their making, too.
            I know we are not welcome here. I know that hate.  

But as long as she’s in the world,
there is life growing out of the smell of fresh-cut grass
and the air of the mountains, and the salt of the desert
and the sweat of our bodies designed to taste our freedom.

And when she passes, she’ll be the galaxies and the stars
and the lightening bugs and memories
so real, I will feel her in the groove lines in my hands.

My momma is in me
            and I am in the world
                        and she shows me that we
can change universes.  

BIO: Heather A. Davis is a Pushcart-nominated, award-winning writer, and literary/spoken word poet (as part of the 5th Woman collective). She also produces and hosts her own community radio show, Knox Community Well Be, on WOZO Radio, 103.9 FM. She has spent her career working in community activism, communications, public affairs, and research, in the US and abroad. Her work has appeared in The Pigeon Parade Quarterly, Liquid Imagination, the Knoxville Mercury, American Diversity Report, the Knoxville Writer’s Guild, and the National Academy of Medicine’s Visualize Health Equity project, among others.