Breaking Kharma #5
It is like a scene in a play.
His bald spot shines upward between dark tufts of hair.
We are sitting in a pool of light on the plastic
covered couch, Ernestine, his last live-in,
ended up with. But that is the end.
We are sitting in the beginning of our lives now
looking at our father upright in his black
reclining chair. It's four of us then, children,
new to Los Angeles--drugs, sex, Watts burning,
Aretha, Michael Jackson, the murder of King,
haven't happened yet.
He is explaining how things will be--
Which one will cook, which one will clean.
"Your mama," he announces, "is not coming."
Two thousand miles away in the yellow
linoleum light of her kitchen, my mother
is sitting in the easy tan-colored man's lap.
Kissing him. Her perfect legs golden like
whiskey, his white shirt rolled up arms
that surround her like the smell of cake baking.
"Forget about her," my father's voice drops like
a curtain, "she doesn't want you. She never did."
Holding the photograph by its serrated edges, staring,
I know the dark grey of her lips is "Jubilee Red"
her face brown silk. I start with the slick
corner of the photograph, put it in my mouth like it's
pizza or something. I close my eyes, chew, swallow.
From Black Wings & Blind Angels by Sapphire. Copyright © 1999 by Sapphire. Excerpted by permission of Knopf, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher And yet here I've reproduced it. I will apologize to Sapphire on Sunday.
*info on hoodie ...which I found googling kharma...at Rebels Market