Bangles and Colorful Cloth for Ma
“Dedicated to my Great-Grandmother”
When I was born, you were young ninety-years old,
your hair pulled tight at the nap of your neck, still
black and bold. At night, you let it down to braid before
you went to bed; it fell to the floor; at first I would watch
in silence from the crack in the door.
The night you caught me I was six, you called me into the
room smiling…asking that I bring you a single broomstick.
I quickly plucked it from mother’s only broom, and rushed
back into the dimly lit room. You showed me how to break
it into small pieces; when I looked bewildered your smile
accented all of your dark wrinkles and creases.
It was then that my eyes opened wide as you put the stick right
through the lob of your ears, its magic I thought; but this is my
Great-grandmother I have nothing to fear. As a child, I did not
realize that there was a hole, because when I would touch the
bangles on her ear, she would quickly scold.
Just like the time when I tried to sneak a peek at her button up
shoes by raising the hem of her long dress, she did not have on
shoes, there were moccasins on those tiny feet…who would have
guessed. Yes, I was only a child without a care, and I spent many
hours sitting at the foot of her old rocking chair.
I never tire of the stories she would tell, sometimes we cried together
and now I can say it…as a child she lived in a white man’s world, she
called it “hell”. Her parents had walked on the “Trail of Tears”, proud
and strong, with every step wondering where they had gone wrong.
She helps raise me and she taught me the way, and as her mind begins
to wander in those later years, I was sad when she would tell her stories
she only remembered the bad. This grand old woman dressed in bangles
and cloths of many colors, with that big ball of hair and the nap of her
neck was a great-grandmother like no other.
She died only days before her birthday; she would have been one-hundred
and five, my father said, Ma would have scolded you while saying, and
don’t you ever cry. I was fifteen-year old and the world was bright and
colorful with the artwork of fall, a befitting day to bury this beautiful and