Your Black History-Or How You Began

Your Black History

I know your first mom
is quick with the humor, and slow to judge others.
I know that she has your eyes, radiant.
I know she loves you everyday,
because she tells me that often.
I know that the choice she made was immeasurably
complicated, reconsidered over and over again
and supported by her parents,
her sister,
her belief in God,
and what she wanted you to have in the world:
Attention. Love. Full on.
The kind this mother, your second mom
with no other children
would give to my
adopted-first- son.

I know that the first thing she called you when she saw you
was Fatso because you were huge.

The first thing she told me on the phone
when we spoke at 6:15 in the morning across
state, color and birthing lines
was that you were frightening all the other babies
in the nursery since you were so big.

Then she asked how soon I could come and be with you.

Three snow storms were gathering force across the continent to make
that a traveling day like no other.

The man who you may or may not know
one day had no idea of your birth that day.
This is the part of your history that no amount of loving
is going to take away.

He wasn’t ready to be a father-he told her that about a year later
at the mall. When they ran into each other.
She called me right away, to tell me.

But last night when Crusher the basketball mascott
chose you to come down to the court
at half time to wow the crowd?
Well, Sam that was your birth father’s genes feeling the high fives
from all the people in the audience
after you moon walked, and swished in the same breath.

Your black history Sam feeling so much pride on that court
like your birth father did that night when your birth mom,
your first mom

came to his game to cheer him on.

She loved how good he was at basketball,
and how he could take things apart,
and put them back together.
Like that night that they made up,
and your black history began
in her radiant eyes
watching his slam dunk on the court.

They couldn’t put themselves back together
after that.

But you had begun already Sam,
with your radiant eyes
and a new family that you helped put together

because you’re good at that


  1. That is one breathtaking poem. you really do inspire me. Now I want to write that poem, only it will be a completely different poem, for my daughter, about her first mom and her history in this world– all of it, the world she came from and the world she is and has made with us. Much love to you and yours. Thanks for being so honest and generous in your work– and thanks especially for being a single mom of two who takes the time to write and make poems. Laura

  2. Gorgeous. Again, you gave me chills. Mama C, your writing is spectacular. And what an amazing legacy you are leaving your boys. When they are older they will be able to go back and real all your work, read about them. What an incomparable gift.

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