Impress Me By Walking In My Mother’s Footsteps (Dedicated To J.W)

For those who remind me of my mother,
For those who I call strong women,
Keep pushing and never stop running,
Don’t run to the hill but race to sunlight,

Men can’t stand without you,
No matter how bad my mother got father angry,
He always came back running,

She was a woman not to mess with,
One arm the diameter of an oak tree,
She ripped the phone from the wall,
Had men running to the hills if they messed with her children,
She wasn’t afraid to protect her babies,

One day rolling up sleeves,
Held feet in recognizable boxing patterns,
She was ready to impersonate Muhammad Ali,

If you want to impress a man,
Follow great footsteps from who raised him,

When I came home crying after getting into my first fist fight,
My mother being ironed fists,
Walked to the kids house,
Pounded on the door as if she was the judge executing guilty verdicts,
Child’s father answering the door,
Not ready for a woman with might,
‘Your son touched my baby,
Either you bring your son out here to fight someone his size,
Or I whoop you instead’,

She would come home and put a piece of meat on my eye,
Taught me how to box if it ever came to defense,
Not only was she strong like Hamza (ra),

She was as sincere as Aisha (ra),
She wasn’t Christian,
Didn’t belong to a religion,
When asked if she believed in God,

Her response went like this,
‘I believe in the one who made Adam,
Crafted strength from his Rib’,

Never introduced to Islam,
But believed in Allah (s.w.t),
Without putting a name to it,

If you want to impress me,
Be similar to footsteps as the woman who crafted me,
Nights standing in reflection,
Her mind became toxic with voices,

Diagnosed Schizophrenia,
Held needles in one hand but a gun in the other,
Told me to balance olive branches and a pistol,

Impressing me is reminding me of her smile,
No matter the voices she hears,
When she grocery shops,
She hid behind Peanut Butter aisles,
Told me to duck when doors opened,
Afraid of elevators because it would be easy to kidnap her baby,

Safety consumed with her heart,
As if danger hiding around the corner,

I remember her smile on Friday evenings,
When stars became guiding light,
She engulfed the night sky with her eyes,
Saturdays we walked through the city,
Taking note of cardboard boxes,
Delivering food when homeless aren’t looking,
Placed blankets under garbage bags in carts,

Sundays we visited lakeside scenery,
Tossing bread to ducks,
Feeding birds without prejudice,
She was the comma in sentences,
Period to my essays,

No matter how much girls please,
No matter how fancy you dress,
Your speaking a language I don’t understand,

It had come to a point in school,
One night she wrote me a letter,
It was when she had high thoughts and passed out on the floor,
Stove still on,
Needle laying in the basket,
Letter on the floor,

‘I may be weak,
But my son a lion surrounded by enemies,
Soft like father,
Iron fists groomed by mother,
I wish not for him to see me in such a state,
I wish for him to remember me kindly’,

Memories I have my mother,
She was a broken woman but her treasure chest complete,
Her heart stitched together slowly,
She told me I was the reason why she hadn’t left this world,

My little hand grabbed her hand while walking,
She would place me on kitchen counters,
Bake me chocolate chip cookies,

She was the type of woman who didn’t hold back,
Taught me how to complete sentences with words,
If no words are necessary fill gaps with action,

One day that bully pressed his luck,
He questioned my mothers integrity,
Called her a ‘bitch with no standards’,

I would take my plate of food,
Swung my fist without hesitation,
He ended up with a bloody nose and a broken eye socket,

I would get home that day escorted by police,
My mother baked cookies,
She gave me a whopping that day not because of the suspension,
Because I didn’t wait until school ended,

If you want to impress me,
You don’t need to wear something seductive,
You don’t need to wear make-up,

All you need to do is become all the colors of the spectrum,
Walk in shadows measured 7 feet tall and arms length indescribable…


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