[ Tetsu schools her son ]

Bloomed no intention not no notion

of  a child but out you came.

What some got natural mothery

know-to-do unborn in me.

I been brought from cross the water far—

every bone a alien never not.

(No soil no roots yall clinch so hard

for home gon’ be my home.)

My flint mama was no lamp to me

nor well my name she gave means iron.

Long nights back home we boiled our sea

for salt to sell the salt.

On me mongst moss and spruce the uncles

and the sofu took their turns.

Time and tide I’d had to burn

to (cauldron) boil the sea and eat the salt.

Himself  who was your seed he called me

Steel when he would call me liked my sharp.

Yes once you heard him down the

telephone (some breaths) the line broke off—

More Poems by Atsuro Riley