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Gretna Wilkinson

AFTER DIVORCING | IMMIGRANT GRAND PARENT LEAVES FORGET-ME-NOTE IN ABANDONED ROCKING CHAIR

Born and raised in Guyana, South America, Wilkinson speaks to issues of human suffering, political and social commentary, children's issues and love; as well as aspects of Guyanese culture. She gives several performances each year and works as a professor in the English Department at County College of Morris in New Jersey. As a Guyanese African American, she specializes in African American Literature and wrote her dissertation on the works of Gwendolyn Brooks, first Black woman to win the Pulitzer Prize in Poetry in the U.S.A. The following poems come from Wilkinson's chapbook, Shhh...I'm Thinking, Hummingbird Publications, Box 15, Andover, 07821-0015, © 1996 by the author.

AFTER DIVORCING

Sitting on the floor
in the cold empty bedroom
listening to the crackling sounds
of an always-breaking heart

Tired with the monotony
I crawl
along the bare floor
on hands and knees
like a helpless abandoned infant

The long crawl ends at the bedroom door
I grab the knob with one hand
holding on to my pieces with the other
pulling myself up
one inch at a time

Sixty three inches later
opening the door
I stumble upon this other woman
inside of me

Stunning
Ten feet tall
Going Somewhere

I introduce myself
to the rest of my life.

IMMIGRANT GRAND PARENT LEAVES FORGET-ME-NOTE IN ABANDONED ROCKING CHAIR

New Land
new rules for the nuclear family

But how to figure out
that not every name with nuclear
might destruct?

How to figure that out
plus high rise taxes
juvenile druggies
and daylight savings time?

How to understand
why here
old greys are sent off to silently disappear
with some of the children's time
forever dulling the shade of all their
tomorrows?

How to keep from pining
for the good days in the old country
when even unwanted greys
are carried to term
and respected

Like high standing historic landmarks
pointing the way to entire libraries
and irreplaceable storehouses
of counsel?

Here, when an old grey leaves
no warning chimes toll
so the children and theirs
never get to find out
how much they are deprived

Someone should warn the present
that the future may clarify itself
if the system sees
that old greys always come
with an expiration date.

Copyright © 1996 by Gretna Wilkinson. All rights reserved.

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