on meeting mark’s grandmother

November 8, 2021
Photo by Luke Porter / Unsplash

Series editor’s note: Sometimes it is good to go back to our old rituals; sometimes even conversations slim with anxiety are welcomed into a home, into a body, into a tree. So does the speaker in Adrienne Christian’s poem, basking in the joy and glory that small things bring, like coffee with more sugar and cream. But the speaker is also one who holds the sky under their watchful gaze, the weight of being lost, un-mustered. And in this bearing, there is also history; in this bearing, there is complacency, a new providence. Here we are again. – Mahtem Shiferraw


on meeting mark’s grandmother

                        new iberia, louisiana

at nine we start watching the windows.
for rain.
our coffee more sugar and cream
than bean.
our conversation slim with anxiety
we watch the local news, world news
weather reports.

i keep watch of the sky if granny nods off.
she wakes and asks if there’s been any change.
her tree.
her hand laid on the bible on her skirt in her lap
in her chair
this house her dad and brothers built. this much

she gives
to this old tree. how much more she would give to me.

Editorial note: Black Voices is a special series guest-edited by Mahtem Shiferraw and sponsored by the WLT Puterbaugh Endowment, which makes possible the Puterbaugh Lit Fest.

Adrienne Christian is a writer and fine art photographer. Dr. Christian is the author of three poetry collections: Worn (2021), A Proper Lover (2017), and 12023 Woodmont Avenue (2013). Common themes in her work are family, love, and African American life.