make love mine
 They rubbed the heat off their palms against the fabric of their mother’s dresses,  discovering in delight that the stiffness in their fingers from this week’s labor was melting,  away into the colorful designs resting on their young bodies.  They met during the part of the day when all the women inside of them were talking at once,  all of these voices, no longer obliged to routine politics, exercised their words, any words, for their freedom.    They chose to meet during this part of the day so that they could stand together on the concrete,  where not too far away,  wafted a body of water’s scent.    They gathered to see one another, to see how far they could spill and pool into one land before someone would spot them and get in the way.   They looked at each other.   It was never long enough.  The day’s lunch of another homeland rested on their lips.  Braids and curls unraveled and defied and crowned themselves their own rulers on the tops of their youth.  They ate on chips that were colors of no fruit they had seen in their mother’s garden,  though they enjoyed these thoroughly,  with triumph,    trading on these treasures the way their siblings in their other homeland would too.  They wondered if the others that gathered met up like this, in rage, for peace.  If they too smacked their red-coated lips in defiance as the crunch of their snacks momentarily distracted them from the truths they had learned young,  from the women inside of them that spoke all at once.  They looked at each other again, for it was never long enough.    They promised next week they would meet again.  In their mother’s dresses.

They rubbed the heat off their palms against the fabric of their mother’s dresses,

discovering in delight that the stiffness in their fingers from this week’s labor was melting,

away into the colorful designs resting on their young bodies.

They met during the part of the day when all the women inside of them were talking at once,

all of these voices, no longer obliged to routine politics, exercised their words, any words, for their freedom.  

They chose to meet during this part of the day so that they could stand together on the concrete,

where not too far away,

wafted a body of water’s scent.  

They gathered to see one another, to see how far they could spill and pool into one land before someone would spot them and get in the way.

 They looked at each other. 

It was never long enough.

The day’s lunch of another homeland rested on their lips.

Braids and curls unraveled and defied and crowned themselves their own rulers on the tops of their youth.

They ate on chips that were colors of no fruit they had seen in their mother’s garden,

though they enjoyed these thoroughly,

with triumph,  

trading on these treasures the way their siblings in their other homeland would too.

They wondered if the others that gathered met up like this, in rage, for peace.

If they too smacked their red-coated lips in defiance as the crunch of their snacks momentarily distracted them from the truths they had learned young,

from the women inside of them that spoke all at once.

They looked at each other again, for it was never long enough.  

They promised next week they would meet again.

In their mother’s dresses.

LE MANGUIER: An African Folktale (Illustrations by Sara Rabin)