Open Letter From a Mother

Child with mother

Child with mother

there is greatness in your lineage
I won’t trace each and every root for you
they’re too nappy
Lord knows this tree been grown in some shit soil
beady with miseducation
southern fried and fatty
but there was greatness here
still is
set in North Carolina cotton fields
we had no business
breaking mason jars
at the foot of the Empire
but we done that anyway
left the road maps back in the shacks
with our imaginary books
we been tracing streets from memory
for two generations now

don’t let the you you been
keep you from the you you wanna be
but know yourself
can’t nobody be nothing ‘less they know theyself
you came
from a smooth talker
and a premature adult
an array of bad decisions
but you weren’t one of ’em
there is greatness in you
I saw it when I swaddled you
as a baby
and can’t nobody hold it back
‘cept the cage it’s in

I pray for you
ask God to bless the seeds you sow
to hold off the reaper another day
you have purpose
I don’t know what it is
but you are beyond all of this
beyond the roots
beyond the soil
somewhere between the highest branch
and the sun

when you were born
I looked into your eyes
and I saw you
I hope
that when you look up
you see the same

By Taru Thompson

Taru Thompson is a lover of math and originally from Washington, D.C.