A Mother’s Grip
My mother has strong hands.
So strong, calluses became
tattoos on her palms and fingertips.
Stories have been written,
by the power of those hands.
Her scars bloom through the gloves of her housekeeping uniform,
every spring, the hotel’s busy season.
There are burn marks from old flames
that haven’t yet healed.
She covers them when I’m not looking.
Her skin tone is cigarette-stained melanin, with
a voice accompanied by the Motown in her snaps. Joy dances when she claps: This means,
her team is winning.
But when she struggles to pick up another shift,
frustration thunders through her fist.
She can no longer form fists around 5-year-old hands,
but she never stopped clutching them.
Distance keeps us at bay,
so fear finds shelter in the bed of her nails.
I become glass with age.
Crystalized fortitude that sleeps
in the back of a cabinet every birthday.
With the faith in my hands, I pray
she remembers the familiar ridges
of my face when she needs to grab a drink,
but if not
I forgive her.
Cherish Triplett is a junior at USM in Hattiesburg. She started writing at the age of 12, and eventually started performing spoken word poetry at the age of 16. After college, she hopes to be a published author, and maybe an editor for some elite magazine, but if that fails, she’ll continue to write anyway.