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Locating Strong Woman I

After Carrie Mae Weems ‘The Kitchen Table Series’

 

Hands placed just so, I instructed the mirror to document transformation – becoming my mother with nothing more than a gesture and the sheen of bright red gloss. Who knew ten years later, I’d avoid mirrors that threw her in my face. Did I say all mirrors? Except I was crashing them against concrete. Finding the most triangular edge. Digging the earth of my body for a reflection I could believe. Hospital windows wouldn’t break. I’d know. That was a long time ago. Different time. Today my mother’s hands are a constant shiver. I stand behind her. Frame her hands in mine and pull the lipstick across. The mirror looks at us. I don’t break it. I don’t avoid her eyes staring from my face and hers at the same time. How could I? I’ve now lived long enough to know what it took to be her.


ABOUT THE CONTRIBUTOR

is a Nigerian British poet, playwright, performer, educator and lawyer. A Callaloo fellow, she was longlisted for the Jerwood Compton inaugural prize and has been published widely including by Ake Review, Pittsburgh Poetry Review and in Peepal Tree Press’ latest anthology, Filigree. Creator of Home Sessions, a poetry development program for young Black poets, Tolu has also led several workshops as well as a series of guest lectures to PhD students at Birkbeck University. More information at www.ToluAgbelusi.com.

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