Summa Cum Laude

A poem for Bless

On Saturday, May 1, 2021, Bless graduated from college, Summa cum laude, and I had the chance to watch it as it streamed live via YouTube. Images used with my kid sister’s permission.

I wanted to be there in person
but I embraced the fact that
a violent virus is still tagging
along on the backs of culprits
and drifting into the lungs of
thousands of human beings on
a daily basis, so I secured
my place in the comfort of
my home as I watched the
youngest of our tribe 
crossover into the “real world.”

What an honor—the tears
that flowed down my face
as her name was called— watching
her stand to wave at the
camera as if to say, “Hello, world!
I’m ready. So, you’d better be,”
transported me back to
every graduation I’ve had
the pleasure to attend.

But this one is different . . .
This one comes with the
glory of knowing a young, black
woman transitioned from teenager
to graduate, obtaining her degree
with the highest distinction”
in Music Education.

What better way to carry on
the legacy of our family
than to do it by gifting others
the beauty of song?

Bless has been far more
than a blessing to us—she’s been
a dream come true for me as
I’ve always envisioned having
a little sister and after gaining
five brothers, she came thundering
through—swiftly carving a place
for herself within our world.

I feel inadequate when
placing words together to
describe her essence—the 
all-knowingness of her very
presence cannot be scribed.
It is something that has 
to be experienced.

And as she grows, our bond 
strengthens and I am no 
longer the big sister who is 
nearly twenty years older than
her, I am merely, “sis”—a woman
with whom she connects
on a higher scale than 
years prior.

I can see seas parting for 
her—making a way 
for her continued steps
as she introduces herself
to the world beyond 
her peripheral view and
I know she is going
to do great things.

I will be here for
each and every 
one of them.


Originally published via Medium.

I’m Running Again

Another shot of my best friend’s plant therapy room. I’ve fallen in love with this room. Photo Credit: Tremaine L. Loadholt

I don’t mean to–I didn’t
mean to but I know
when I’m not wanted
and I get my running shoes
put them on, tie them
up tight, and I start
running.

You’ve seen it before.
We’ve lived through this
phase of mine because you
have Casper in your blood.
Two ghosts does not a
live person make.

I love you too much to
let you see me crumbling
more because of you, so
what’s the best thing to do?
I can’t live on my feet
and die on my back at
the same time.

Pick one.
Which one do
you want?

You come in like
blooms on a plant
and disappear sooner
than later, taking more
pieces of me to
devour–to ravage.
I will never make
your sun shine.

This is what you
tell yourself without
knowing truly what I
can do.
I keep my running
shoes at the door,
ready and waiting.

Because when you come
around, old ways
stir up inside me and I . . .
set my eyes on
fleeing the scene
before you can
break my heart again.

Mementos, Loveless Years, & Soliloquies

I’m stuck in this place
shut-in an inescapable destination
she lies about her love
and I wait for the moment
she confesses–it never comes

I am a forgiving person
I think–“she’ll come to her
senses soon”
but there is no soon
and I grow tired of
standing by a shaky
promise
it is flawed and broken

lately, I’ve been feeling
flawed and broken too
finally, she waltzes in
with gifts and sweet apologies
that melt my heart

I’m putty, a weakling
she has me right where
she wants me . . .

falling back into
her world, forsaking
and forgetting mine

only the courageous

I don’t know anyone
else who can make
me laugh and cry
uncontrollably in the
same conversation

you have a spirit that
will never give up
you’re a warrior
ancestors at your
beck and call,
assistance for every
attack

gifted, mighty words-worker
who turns sustenance
into art
you are before
your time, our time,
and the times ahead

it would be pointless
to simply say,
“I love you,”
I am blessed to breathe
the same air you
wheel into your
lungs

how can a world of
goodness dwell in
one person
this, I’ll never know
but I’m glad I
know you


For my beautiful friend, Heejin, who is everything amazing and so much more. This was my Valentine’s Day gift to her.