Mom and I were raised by the same woman.

by Delaney Keshena


How did I learn to hurt.

Mighta been at the back of an Easy Mac.

Unseen in those instructions:

Water. Heat. Consume.

Seeped in from all that


Maybe in pull, that wrought iron chair.

Journey from under bars,

chair top, counter ledge

defy death with year three balance.


A kid don’t belong in margins,

least that which sits between sink and counter’s beckoning edge.

Microwave hum ‘ll bring you to sleep before that day’s food is done.


Those lessons stuck,

just like you were.


You shout.

Small ears pinging blame.

Even years after graduating to the stove

still trapped by ‘mind my own’ and

I guess that’s how i did it

walk on by, while on



You cried.


-that’s how they translated

Prayer from your tongue-

crying out.


Maybe that’s what you were

doing there, on the floor.


But like they taught us in

that school

Nobody’s gon answer.

Not even hurt-me. Time for you to

learn to crawl up.


All of that, i gave to me

A picture:

Your frame against the bed’s.

Mind’s I can’t blink away

the hurt been dealt

distinguishable even in that dark.

Now, I’m sorrybut

I don’t know if I wouldn’t still walk away.