NYU Black Renaissance Noire Volume 18 Issue 3 - Fall 2018 - Page 14

poetry By Cheryl Boyce-Taylor APRICOT BEGONIAS For Ceni 1. Two months after my son’s death my friend Sabrina buys us tickets for Mexico City she says we are going on a pilgrimage to visit Frida Kahlo Sabrina is fluent in Spanish says she will take care of me every evening she makes ginger tea and hugs me tight She finds us an Airbnb in a small scenic art district three times we get locked out before we learn the key combinations in the middle of the living room there’s a hammock with a view of the bridge ahead of the fog we see Mexico City rising in the distance I’ve come late to this grief We visit Frida in Coyoacan At Lomas Verdes in an open square filled with children and women wearing colorful off the shoulder dresses we listen to folk music and men dressed in Charro suits singing Besame Mucho we eat tostadas frijoles authentic mole chicken flautas with ceviche and guacamole Watch the body bend and curve watch it shutter watch the body an endless aching fire giving twin souls back to soil I have not spoken in days  The begonia leaves have grown small white dots sorry for your loss honey did you remember to blow out the white candles honey did you dust the Tribe Called Quest cd’s the guests will want to see them have we called the funeral director maybe we should sage the house I forgot myself where what will I use to fill the poem did you find a frame for it the poem I mean the poem 2. Apricot begonias are my favorite flowers will you hold my hand love we marry in the middle of all that sorrow after twenty years she is my wife did we order begonias are spider mums in bloom baby shall we order fresh Long Island peaches for the repast wife wife my wife the wedding cake has two tiers we dance to Beyonce’s love on top the guests join in we walk each other down the aisle we have never been happier wife wife I follow her around and scratch for something to pray to I follow her like a flock of wild turkeys all my cells looking for something to hold to cling to belong to baby turkeys are called poults my baby is called too soon female turkeys are called hens will you hold my heart up to the light beards on male turkeys are called gobblers   grief on a bride is called Will you bring my writing pen and paper will the robins return for grain is the door locked will everyone leave before sunrise what day is it has the cat been fed use the good dishes in the glass cabinet love will I see my son again can I On his first walk after transplant surgery Malik walks to his wife’s room she has given him her kidney we love our kidney baby we love Deisha Malik sends me purple iris for my birthday Mom I found my girl she reminds me of you What time will the funeral cars be here will you put on the kettle will we begin with the flutes of Carlos Nakai 4. Will you pray with me I go to Yemaya Jesse and Eric meet me in Anguilla we listen waves lick the sand like an obedient lover we have fried conch and lukewarm eggnog at dinner the mixed drinks are weak flies never leave the table The black and white couple next door talk too much all night incessant talking and bragging we laugh in odd places don’t hear a word they’re saying there’s dried toast no milk for cappuccino  we discuss the poems of Aracelis Girmay read letters from Frida to Diego love the dialect of Michelle Cliff in Land of Look Behind in the morning we search the island for fried bake and bacalao  we look for a wicker frame for my new poem night rolls in heavy as sorrow my twin sons Malik and Mikal are the butter yellow butterflies who greet me every morning they walk me to the breakfast shed Mom I need a kidney will you lay with me dear mountain my heart is still not healing I fill the bathroom with begonias and baby’s breath my bath water is so hot it makes me weep where has my son gone why did he leave I love it when he calls me mama phife calls me gal and boo calls me mama and mami once when he was twenty I told him he could call me Cheryl he said hell no im’ma call you mama and sista Watch the body bend and curve watch it shudder watch the body this gift an endless aching fire giving twin souls back to the land I have not spoken to my brother in years  Will you make me a cup of rooibos tea with acai berry cup of wild sweet orange are we expecting company should I fold the throw rugs fluff the sofa pillows will we serve South African Malbec Sorry for your loss your for loss 3. The poets come to our home with sage white candles and Florida water they bring white Calla Lilies my son’s favorite flower they bring drums koras and shekeres they make a joyful noise form a prayer circle Elana leads all in song we howl and pray together I feel lifted Harmattan something close to lightning and sandstorm did we remember to turn off the bathroom light In Trinidad we put the top tier of the wedding cake in the freezer save it for one year have you had anything to eat