COVID Leads The Procession To Woodlawn Cemetery
There were silences.
only the apneas of the ventilators could be heard,
as heavy voices and footsteps came through the phone.
I kept inflating my cheeks while pacing, waiting to breathe for him, I could only see him as the seven-year-old me eager to please him, to fill me with belly shakes, I whispered daddy in this voice, as a now 40 plus
Woman, And then, I listened for his life the colors of it, a purple infused temperament, seeing our red and white brick rowhouse on covid row, the brick oven he built out back for family cookouts, his black and white 98, and at 16, me leaning as I drove it, and while life support sank his voice into the virus, only the virus was alive and muscular, spreading like three month old milk overturned on a rusty counter, although, I could not see him I knew he was cold.
Originally Published by 5 Points Journal
Once Upon A Forever
Twenty-six years after my banishment my father laid in his covid chamber and right before he decided to mute his words and after he blamed me for walking toward a life away from his judgements and long before his rambling monologues on how at sixteen it was the last time he recognized his sweet grrrl who had become too opinionated too caught up in standing flat-footed in my voice and remembering past interludes where I refused to give in because as he said I’m the daddy in a hard-shelled pronouncement and I refused to be afraid to lose his love anymore and because he disowned me and left me to die in a hospital and nursing home where I did not resemble the others in age race and social economics he could walk away and not feel me his firstborn in the bowels of diabetic unconsciousness and where I yelled for my mother who could not come and my daughter in high school at home trying to mother herself because her mother was marinating in a sugar coma and I realized then that I was unlovable and rancid from the years of hard labor being a daughter to a father who could not love me the way I needed to be in an unconditional baby grrrl forever love I see in other black grrrls and when my daughter and grandson said I love you mommy I love you mimi each night before bed and just because I was something to them I remembered my mother and her love even beyond and even because because
Originally Published by Northwest Review
Cynthia Parker-Ohene is an abolitionist, and therapist. She is an MFA graduate in Creative Writing at Saint Mary’s College of California, and the Chester Aaron Scholar for Excellence in Creative Writing. She is a Finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize in Poetry, winner of the San Francisco Foundation/Nomadic Press Poetry Prize. Her recent work has appeared or forthcoming in Best American Poetry 2022, Poetry Daily, Verse Daily. The Rumpus, Black Warrior Review, Bellevue Literary Review, Kweli, Diode Literary Journal, Obsidian, among others. She has received support from Tin House, Callaloo, Juniper, Post Graduate Writers Conference/Vermont Fine Arts College, Wright-Hurston Foundation, Naropa, and elsewhere, as well as work in the anthologies, Black Nature: Four Centuries of African American Nature, and The Ringing Ear: Black Poets Lean South. She is also a Poetry Reader for The Adroit Journal. Her book Daughters of Harriet is published by The Center for Literary Publishing/Colorado State University.