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Nov 2018
You used to tell me that beautiful things come from pain and adversity.
Like motherhood, unconditional love, and true stories.
As I stood in the middle of a room painted white,
Staring at the remains of rolling hills burned to black,
I saw you staring back at me.

Burnt fields like black panther fur
Shining against your bones
Velvet black
You’ve changed
And changed and changed
Yet your love still remains
Burnt fields like black panther fur
Whiskers are the needles on a compass
Always pointing to the azure sky
You used to sing when I cried
Rolling your r’s over rrolling hills
A haunting melody startling black birds into the night
Feathered constellations against a sliver moon
And lips pressed to my salty cheeks

You told me that your favorite skin tone was chocolate,
As you laid out in the sun hoping to melt. β€œA quarter black” is what you say when you want to feel proud,
Even as you tell me stories of how your mother was called negrita,
The girl who stood too dark amongst the crowd.

Burnt fields like black panther fur
Black like the broken wings of mothers before you
Who had hands with scars from cotton seeds
And blue veins like uprooted trees
Stretching all the way to their tired knees
Burnt fields like black panther fur
You criticize your aging beauty
Speaking in envy of the color gold
Like you are a broken bowl in need of kintsugi
Yet silver snakes still slither
Over the pebbled river beds of your black curls
Dripping down the small of your back
Until they reach the base of your ivory spine
Burnt fields like black panther fur
You criticize your aging beauty
Because you never thought
Cocoa lips and sun spots painted on sculpted clay that never cracks
Could ever look as stunning as it does on you

You told me that it is better to speak my truth then tell pretty lies.
So I told you mine and you cried,
And cried and cried.
But look where we are now,
Standing beside each other with the same eyes,
Just different reflections.

Burnt fields like black panther fur
Tongue like a sword set ablaze
Tempered in pools of milk and honey
Blood red sun grazing the tops of your eyelids
Still reminiscent of those in old photographs
Where you saw the little girl you search for in me
Burnt fields like black panther fur
I am sorry I made you cry
But even when our backs are turned
We are still
Black birds singing in the dead of night
Free
Thank you mama for my broken wings.
Inspired by a photograph of a burnt field that I saw in an art gallery. For my mom.
Zeleyha Mata
Written by
Zeleyha Mata  17/M/mad in place
(17/M/mad in place)   
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