My mother had more than a handful of children;
so her strength was forced to multiply,
like a tumor that slept under a magnifying glass.
In the summer,
in record-degree heat,
she walked for miles;
feet too tired to complain.
She carried bags of groceries in her hands
that were equivalent to the weight of a two toddlers—sitting on both sides
of her hips.
But on the weekends, she’d wipe the opinions made by bystanders
with the back of her hand,
dancing: fearlessly, through the fire of tragedy.
And I learned how to survive by watching her swim through brick walls.
Maude Washington is a poet and freelance writer. Her work has appeared in The Blue Nib and The Faithful Creative.