Portrait of a mother in America By Kashiana Singh

Portrait of a mother in America

You are an unstoppable maverick
you have authorship to the fossils we shall be
You are restless as you lie awake
your forgiveness is now a lung emptied of death
You are monastic as you listen to the bells ring
your joy transient in yet another uncounted night
You are a widow wailing at the steps of a lake
a practiced palanquin bearer of skinned surrender
You are unflailing and rise above freedom
you claim perspective for those who are still captive
You are pole star and mercury
shifting the epicenter of your axis for those you birth
You are a witch with long arms
they embrace bodies showered from dilating skies
You are songwriter, fact narrator
watchwords are written in your inherited ink
You are chameleon, your smile is irreverent
it hides an incoherent truth underneath your teeth
You are your own church, your own god
your own microscope, staring at name & shame
You are blood, your rivulets gurgle
into veins of strife, wounds guard your empty streets
You are awake, you awaken, teasing
your dreadlocks into witness stands, for the dead
You are yesterday’s battles and tomorrow’s cries
you beat in ballads, and rehearse poems to throbbing drums
You are the rumbling beneath glaciers
you bury uncertain screams inside headstones
You are a sculpture in sand, drawing yourself
again, as your shores are erased, by waves of putrid lies
You are louder with each breath
penetrate a deafening normal, inside and outside
You are repetition, you sketch a scrawl
that leaves scars on a country’s cardboard map
You are hunger, your sharp tongue bites into cornbread
ready again for another funeral pageantry
You are a village common; you bear resilience
in hallways that echo of ruptured protests
You are unabashed, you offer your breast
to beating chests, shadows of heaving loss
You are ricocheted through our mistakes
your prayer is a pause inside vacant throats
You are promise of a rotting tattoo
your artwork stares into their reasonless gaze
You are conversation to our silence
you pour questions into our coagulated eyes
You are sure of your journey
your pilgrimage is to places where multitudes died
You are sister, you are queen
you dance in compassion, it holds your head high
You are your ancestors, you are healer
you make garment of their velvet flagellated skins
You are language, farmer of roots
you nourish the irreverence of all marching youth
You are baptized, you are ostracized
you drink from the fountain of wakeful lives
You are in your own image, not his, not hers
not theirs, you stand holding a mirror to eclipsed light
You are time, of all times
you rudder the sea to the sky, you swallow meteorites
You are inadequate in your koans
you ache in psalms that sing into life and afterlife
You are relentless, a stitcher of quilts
you fill it with absence, thread it with sinew of your barren wombs

By Kashiana Singh


Kashiana Singh lives in Chicago and embodies her TEDx talk theme of Work as Worship into her everyday. Her poetry collection, Shelling Peanuts and Stringing Words presents her voice as a participant and an observer. Her chapbook Crushed Anthills is a journey through 10 cities – a complex maze of remembrances to unravel. Her poems have been published on various platforms including Poets Reading the News, Visual Verse, Oddball Magazine, Café Dissensus, TurnPike Magazine, Inverse Journal. She serves as an Assistant Poetry Editor for Poets Reading the News. Kashiana carries her various geographical homes within her poetry.

Leave a Reply