Treasure Island

Romella Kitchens

(Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania)

Mother Washington


We were in Washington D.C. to March so an assassinated Black man could have a holiday.
And, everywhere we went, there were these very poor Black people living in the shadows

of prosperity and monuments.

Do you remember? Leaving the hotel and finding so many prostitutes around certain corners
we were warned by the door man not to venture there?

This all goes to say, a mother may invite you to her home for dinner but, no matter how fine
the silverware pattern, she must feed her own children regularly, wash them and tend to their
clothes or the diners will only remember their sunken eyes. That stare of absolute despair,
their outstretched palms so very lean.

This all goes to say, a good mother is not what she says only.
She is the concrete nature of what she does again and again.

Submitted: Thursday, October 31, 2013
Edited: Thursday, October 31, 2013

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Poet's Notes about The Poem

The personal historic is important to poetry. This happened many years ago, that distance lends perspective.As, my sister and I entered Washington via bus to march for Martin Luther King Day to become a holiday, we look through our window on the left side. There was the Potomic River. There was an ominous sight. A plane in the harsh ice, frozen in. The dead yet to be retrieved. I wept inside for their families then and now. The bodies were rescued once there was a thaw.

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