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Touch, Post Slavery 

Ain't love hard? —Toni Morrison, Song of Solomon

The sugar bowl is not for pretty
on the kitchen table. It is another
galaxy, made of stone and breath,
a wish between continents,
its sweetness a fist
to pound against darkness. The hands
that formed it belong to a face,
dust-brown, on an island
where my great great great
grandmother was born, where she died,
where she worked to make sugar, back
bent, aching knees, mouth twisted
into lack and longing, throat scorched
by sun and thirst, mind spent dizzy
with worry-weary bones
that tell time.
My world stretches
to her world.
We sing our trouble
down.
Say, Love is hard like life, in unison.
Every time I sip the sweet heat,
she mouths from her starry post-life:
That's me. That's me.

— Tameka Cage Conley

Tameka Cage Conley lives in Wilkinsburg. Her work has been published in Fledgling Rag and is forthcoming in African American Review. Many writers featured in Chapter & Verse are guests of Prosody, produced by Jan Beatty and Ellen Wadey. Prosody airs every Saturday morning on 90.5 FM.

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