I am anxious…I imagine on September 19th, 1973 she was too.
I imagine her sitting in a window somewhere in Harlem. It was a cool late summer evening.
She sat with the window open and smelled the fumes of that rotten glorious city burn
in a fiery red blaze towards the East that seemed to set the skyline on fire.
I imagine she turned her gaze into the eggshell painted room.
The paint on the walls looked like old dry skin.
Roberta Flack‘s haunting voice playing softly against the whistling of the wind
passing through the railroad style apartment.
High ceilings and an ambience only constructed during an error before the world
found itself at War for the second time.
The dark, hard wood floors looking like glazed chocolate in the last of the day’s shadows.
Her skin mimicking the tone of the floor, like a chameleon.
Her youngest child, soon to be the oldest, asleep on the day bed in the corner.
Cigarette buds in the dish on an antique table.
A half empty bottle of red wine from the night before.
I imagine her short-cropped Afro. Deep dark brown and rich like her eyes.
Soft and curly hair; smelling of peppermint and sandalwood.
She would sit there, one leg on the windowsill the other dangling like a lazy feline.
Occasionally staring at the cracks in the old iron fire escape concealment
that resembled an ancient mosaic in the last red glimpse of the setting sun.
The twisted metal cascading down to the busy street below.
Bustling people, loud music, car horns and sirens played a cacophony
that was the background music of this great metropolis.
I imagine her in a long dashiki dress, embroidered with silver trimming, like a Dhoti gown.
She wore brown wooden prayer beads around her neck. Braless and barefoot.
A “woman” in every sense of the word.
She rubbed her belly that late day on September 19th.
She closed her eyes and rubbed her belly.
I can see her face.
Round soft jawline.
Her white ivory gap tooth smile peeking through full brown lips.
Her nose, which she got from her mother.
Her Southern attitude, and big city dreams.
She was anxious.
Like I am now.
A bit scared
Ready for one of life’s transitions.
She wondered about the future. As I do now.
One thing she knew was certain was that she loved how she felt giving life.
She loved to feel her children grow inside her.
And as much as she loved him
Oh, how she loved him.
She giggled at the thought that she just knew she could give him
as many new lives as she could.
An ultimate form of her love for him.
And she would. And she did.
She gave him two in the summer
Two in the winter
And one in the spring.
It was never enough for him.
But always everything she ever wanted.
All that she loved
Worked herself to the bone for
Laughed for and sat anxiously waiting for each of their seasonal arrivals.
He’ll never know
He’ll never understand this love.
But I imagine somehow she knew that and loved him anyway.
I imagine that night on September 19th, 1973 that she foresaw all of this.
She’s like that sometimes.
She sees things.
Even things I think she knew she could have avoided
Pain she could have bypassed
Sorrows she did not have to experience
But she knew it was written and she played her part.
Played it brilliantly.
It is the spring of 2012.
I am anxious.
She is dying now.
She has given life.
Now she awaits the transition of her own.
She’s anxious and I know she is scared.
I know she regrets nothing.
I know, somehow, she knows everything now.
No more pain.
I am anxious.
As I imagine you were waiting for my life that late summer evening.
I now wait for you.
I was in that room with you on that cool September night in 1973.
As I am with you now.
A little scared.