Notes my mother wrote
by Barrie Neller

One fell from an old text book as if
it had been waiting for me.
"Honey ... give your teacher a kiss
today. I put in an extra pickle so
you can pucker up!"
It reminded me I had not yet grieved.
As the black son of an unmarried
white woman, I could easily have
become the worst of what people
assume. My mother saw to it I did not.
Every day my lunch box would carry
a message from her. Smiling with release
the tears flow freely. As a teen I remember
reading this one from my gym bag:
"Son ... love is painted in every color."

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