VISIBILITY Magazine Issue 03. (April 2018) - Page 41

So the last time Mami cried was when I did not abandon her She carried me out to term and still they were unsure Mami’s fear presents itself in the quietest of moments she finds herself by my bedside- be reminded that a child could be unburdened by all that was placed against her Does not want to wake me Cannot bear to witness her daughter’s tendency to grasp her hand When my strength insisted that maybe I would give up this time Mami looks at me and tries not to remember her brother- who died of AIDs in the 90s Another brown body forgotten in a Bronx burial scene His skin as pale as hers now His eyes- a sunken treasure of tears that no one is allowed to witness There’s never room for crying in a home that’s accustomed to death Black kids aren’t supposed to get sick I spend my childhood learning how to reassure my mother that she raised me right, that we willed my health back to how she imagined me, cradled in the corner of my parent’s bedroom, my lungs- a steady rhythm to lull away her fears Crying precedes short breaths that make me lose control of myself I internalize it all and tell my mother not to worry 39