Thursday, May 01, 2014


—Photo by Robert Lee Haycock, Antioch

—Marchell Dyon Jefferson, Chicago

You were not prepared for this day.
The day when your mother’s neighbor called
You about your sister’s strange behavior,

You were in morning rush hour traffic.
Driving in the opposite direction
When you could double back

You found your sister in mom’s garden,
Chopping down stocks of cane flowers,
You watched as she pulled from the soil each root.

At first, you thought it was just another manic phase.
You asked her where was mom?
In silence she points to the house.

Then you found your mother’s lifeless body.
You wanted to scream and to keep screaming.
Somehow, you knew you had to be strong.

Your mother always said she wanted
Those cane flowers up and out
Because they blocked your mother’s way of light.

You walk out and kneel beside your sister.
Nothing will block your mother from finding the light.
Without words or tears you put your hands to the task.

There will be time to make those calls.
There will be time,
But right now there were these canes.
You feel the soil soak through
The knees of your pantyhose.
The neighbor who called you

And his cohorts stop to eyeball you.
You smile through the tears.
You decided to let them stare.

—Photo by Robert Lee Haycock

—Marchell Dyon Jefferson

You do not want this responsibility.
But she has nowhere to go.

You are not your mother who had the patience of a saint.
But she has nowhere else to go.

The social worker on call asked could she stay with you?
Because she has nowhere else to go.

Your shoulders are not ready for this burden
But she has nowhere else to go.

You know without you she will be homeless.
You have seen people on the streets like her with nowhere else to go.

You tell the social worker on call only for a few nights
Till everything gets settled.

Only because she is your sister.
And because she has nowhere else to go.

 —Photo by Robert Lee Haycock

—Marchell Dyon Jefferson

She is one body, head and all.
She is in tears again after the rage in her has settled.
Her face and hair are tucked under her arms like folded wings.
Now that all is silent
You try to tiptoe around not to disturb
The shards underneath your feet.

A glass bird is made to fall.
It is born to hairline fractures.
It is refined and made beautiful by fire.
It is like your sister once broken.
No matter how you try
You cannot glue them both back together.

The glass bird is a symbol to you of better days.
You remember still the day she gave it to you.
Now for no apparent reason
Both she and it are spilled on the living room floor.

Your mom used to say it was all a phase.
Be patience and she will grow out of it.
But it all proved not to be a phase.
Schizophrenia has broken her spirit.
Like the glass bird into a million tiny pieces.

To rebuild again
You must pick up each piece.
To save her, you must be willing to bleed.

 —Photo by Robert Lee Haycock


—Marchell Dyon Jefferson

She swears she could levitate
Off these iced stained wooden floor boards
If she ate only canned spinach and drank only bottled water.

This same voice has assured her she has invisible wings.
It tells her she could be finally free
If she could get past
The bars on her bedroom window.

This same voice tells her
She could sing sweet as a robin.
So she whistles long and hard
Till her face blushes blue.

This same voice tells her
The Rapture is upon us all.
You wait with her,
On your back porch in the cold,
In your flannel night gown.

Then you wish the sky would fall
And the stars sparkle out of existence
As you wait for your bare feet to freeze.
Or as you wait for your feet to take flight.

—Photo by Robert Lee Haycock

—Marchell Dyon Jefferson

You pledge yourself to your sister.
You pledge yourself blood and bones.

You pledge yourself till your shoulders hunch over.
Till to you it no longer matters that your hair has turned gray.

No longer a novice in this matter
You are experienced when it comes to taking care.

No longer is there awkwardness.
Your family has met the challenge with grace.
Your family has settled in around her needs.

You have been on a narrow and rocky road cramped with thorns
With only an inch of light to guide your way.

You have fought it, but now you take responsibility.
You have found yourself smiling through all the murk.

You think fondly of your sister now,
About her strange but sweet disposition.


Our thanks today to newcomer Marchell Dyon Jefferson for her poems! Marchell is from Chicago IL. Her poetry has been accepted and/or published in Toasted Cheese Literary Journal, Full of Crow Poetry Magazine, Rainbow Rose Ezine, Blue Lake Review, A Little Poetry, The Stray Branch, and Strange Horizons. She has also has won Torrid Literature’s Romancing the Craft Award for 201, and has been published in Torrid Literature’s Christian Anthology 2013. Don't be a stranger to the Kitchen, Dyon!


Today's LittleNip:

Those are the same stars, and that is the same moon, that look down upon your brothers and sisters, and which they see as they look up to them, though they are ever so far away from us, and each other. 

—Sojourner Truth



—Photo by Robert Lee Haycock