Holding us in, holding us close, holding us up, and holding us to our calling…
“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.”
We hold these memories to a sacred conclusion,
these are those, the sad society of unnested orphans,
recipients of the ever forgiving hearts,
the ever giving milk of kindness;
our mothers are in us as we were in them,
swimming inside of our thoughts, singing in our words:
(“did I just sound like her?”…“say something she would say?”)
And the constant and often inconvenient voice:
“If I did, said that, what would Pauline Johnson say?”
The motherless fellowship, we always feel alone now, today and most days;
sailing on a rudderless ship, we just try to get through the day,
abandoned by laughter and exiled to our quiet remembrances,
we can at least smile as the end products of fierce prayers and tears,
and for those things that can never be lost, or taken away;
the things wrapped in and around DNA, the nuanced little habits;
time leads our learning to love a calling given, like our names at sea,
I fell in line to my maternal labeling:
Michael, the warrior Arch Angel destined to directly confront satan,
Anthony, the wilderness wanderer, compassionate, alone and sensitive saint,
built to enable and inspire others to their calling with God.
Why these two opposites, I would ask her now,
why the terrible burden of wanting to both fight and pray, destroy and heal?
(“I will always be there with you, I am praying for you now, and for when I am gone”)
And so I am always caught before I fall,
warned out of my own fondness for forgetting the reason and why,
emissaries sent and signs signaling, push backs against occasional regret and sorrow;
And even now I still seem to recall everything:
words soaked in wisdom and warnings of pending winters,
looks that could instantly stop any pre-inappropriate behavior,
smiles soaked in the sacred secrets of a promised offering,
the warmness of touch pushing the scrapes and bruises away;
words, looks, smiles and the warmness of touch,
was essential for a black boy to survive the brooklyn streets,
to survive the world’s cruel intentions…
In many ways I was a dedication to disappointment,
an unreturnable gift;
(“I understand you care about your people, but they…”)
But she always cared,
for my hope was not to disappoint,
to not waste great efforts born of solemn, bold and silent sacrifices.
I am still swimming in a maternal sea of hope,
connected and nourished in spite of all the discord in my life,
by the prayers of a faithful & brave woman,
who without future evidence, and with no proof of the promise,
dedicated her child to the mysterious call of God.
What was she thinking?
She was not, she was praying.