Poetry

Make it Better

When I think of God
as mother She has the darkest
skin,

Black coffee,
licorice, bittersweet
chocolate,

The skin of Eula who
carried me, who rocked and
changed me,

Of Catherine who
stood me on a stool where I mixed boxes
of Jiffy Cake

In a bowl, flour
everywhere, messes wiped up
magically:

Her broad nose, the
Great Mother, Her strong arms and
capable hands

Kindly guiding when
we go astray, Her deep voice
raised not in anger

But in a song that
calls us home, where a kiss will
make it better.

14 thoughts on “Make it Better”

  1. I, on the other hand, am *not* reading The Shack, but grappling with this week’s gospel lesson and looking for a God who embraces rather than dividing. But maybe I ought to read it?

  2. I was remembering this morning Aunt Carrie and Mazalline who always had time for me to sit on their laps and hug me wherever my mother was. And I always think about the scene in The Color Purple when the character talks about how she had to give up caring for her children to take care of some white child.

  3. My memories of Eula are very, very vague, mostly centered on a small photograph. If I understand the stories my parents told me many years ago, she had a strange health incident after tripping over a toy–I seem to remember a story about a blood clot, but I wonder if it wasn’t an aneurysm?
    Catherine remained a part of our lives long after we moved and she stopped working for us. Her daughter was the star student at the black high school in town, went to college, became a school teacher and moved to Baltimore, to her mother’s great pride. When Catherine retired, she moved to be near her daughter. Their whole family (Catherine, Carol, her husband and son) came to my first wedding, where the little boy reached up and put his dark hand on my decolletage. I can still feel that little hand.
    And now I think I have a sermon.

  4. It’s beautiful – an absolutely beautiful poem. Thank you for embracing such an incredible image for God. And I’ve read “The Shack” – feel free to skip it. Or skim it so you can answer everyone who’ll ask “Have your read it?” Lovely poem.

  5. sigh.
    (I skimmed The Shack, didn’t like it, didn’t like the authors simplistic pollyanna writing style, I was ok with his image of the Trinity and his basic theology of love).

  6. This is lovely.
    My Eulas and Catherines were named Ollie and Gazette. I do not know what happened to them.
    I am avoiding The Shack!

  7. Yes, yes, yes… these are wonderful, powerful images of God, such a blessed counterbalance to the Old Bearded Guy In The Clouds.
    And the RevGals poetry anthology is due out WHEN?!?

  8. No Eula, no Shack, no God, really. But this is still so lovely to me. A time and a place I never inhabited, but totally get. You’ve got a gift, Songbird.

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