— for sean d & bill

we call our moms           they’re in their
nineties now             some don’t remember
many do              we are worried sons of mothers
mugged by some motherfucker of a germ
going back to the days when our mothers’ mothers
were alive during the pandemic of 1918     we
become old & wise when we talk to
our mothers      though how we’d rather stop by for
gingerbread or potato salad        history
is a phone call now       i’m reading zinn & hope franklin
my mother remembering the love in the old city lodged
near three indigenous-named waterways     all of the
colored people cramped into a tiny sliver of territory
it was theirs & they loved it despite it all       they had each
other like now       the newspeople barely mention that our
mothers & mothers’ mothers are dying like frogs in the
sixth extinction but we can at least call & talk to our mothers
or our mothers’ mothers       hear sad sagas of cotton thorns &
bleeding hands    low pay in endless days that burned like hot combs
things were cruel & depraved but they did not give in       even though
they were sure they would die           but oh look how many lived to
tell those tales      like one day someone must tell this one
again & again