Maya Angelou as a Wife

Peel my petals
one by one with
every womanly task.

Seal my lips
with threads of gold
for compliance is in
every woman’s nature.

Balm my heart
with cold command
for jealousy belongs
to man alone.

Cloak me in
beautiful saris
so I may pretend
to bloom once more.

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My Own Hope

I wish to see
myself across this
sea of trials and
tribulations, with
friendship, strength
and faith; I am
my own hand
and I lift myself
out of thy miry clay.

Haikus to My Mother

I

Wash my hair
with your tears
so I may know
how to be a wife.

II

Cup my face
with your love
so I may have
courage to face
the world.

III

Show me your
wrinkled hands
so I may know
a woman’s work.

IV

Give me your
fingers too fat
for rings, I’ll
bind you to your
daughter’s love.

V

Show me your hands
that wielded the cane
for I must wash them
with grateful tears.

VI

Go to sleep now, ma.
I am home.
I am with you.

For Kabul

Yellow laleh fall
in shreds, our full
wheat pales to wreath;
now only white laleh
line our halls
of prayers, will you
hear our people cry?

For Manchester

Our red roses
lay down to rest;
three rivers aflow
with tears; my men and
women, my children,
we gather in grief but
our bees shall fly again.