I’m waiting for my grandchildren to come.
Waiting to rub down their little feet
with my tired hands, to hold them close
to my chest the way Iyeeh held me
when the birthing mothers lay me
in her brave arms in Dolokeh
where I was born, the Toebo child, born
in stranger land, Chee Dawanyeno,
they named me.
Waiting, so politicians can get that wake-up
moment, grow hearts inside, and be men.
Waiting for those babies in cages
across America’s troubled heart to be freed.
Waiting for the immigration breakdown
of fences and hard people
with their barbed-wired hearts, snatching
hungry children from
their mothers’ arms.
Waiting for dawn, for the yellowing
of sun and the passing of moon.
Waiting for a kinder day to dawn.
I’m waiting so my neighbor’s trees
can shed their leaves
Waiting for the snow, for the cold frosting
of ground and tree limbs, for cliffs
around this town where I have buried years
of my life, to lower themselves so the winds
can breathe for once, so new blood
can move upon this old town
and melt the cold in the shut-down hearts
of this town, oh, Altoona, how long
shall I be here to feel
I’m waiting to someday see my mother
in Heaven, to hold her hand, to laugh and cry
and listen to her one more time.
Waiting to tell her how much I’ve discovered
in the places where she pointed me,
and how hard those places have become.
To kneel before her in search of forgiveness,
to do all the things I couldn’t do before
she departed without
bidding me farewell.
I’m waiting for women to take hold
of this broken world with their tenderness
of heart without which there would
be no earth, a world, ruined in unrepairable
places by people who have kept
a blindness as their hope.
Yes, I’m waiting so women can walk
again, the way we were meant to walk
hard, on surfaces where men
have refused to walk. Waiting,
so, we can finally mend the pain of our broken
homelands, all the ruined places
of our being, oh Africa,
to mend our broken roads and broken minds.
I’m waiting so we can heal this world
for my grandchildren.
Waiting to turn my world over to my children,
Before I someday pass on to the other world,
where our ancestral mothers have found
their own stools from which to reign, where
my own mother, Hne Dahtedor, sits,
waiting my arrival.