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I've Known Hunger

I've known a hunger so gripping in its vise, so uncaring in its choice
The kind that makes your head pound with the signals your brain can no longer comprehend
When a pack of Ramen Noodles was the meal of the day and you prayed for enough money for Kraft Mac-n-cheese
The kind that makes you sip the last spoonful of Campbell's Chicken Noodle Soup so your kids will not go to bed starving
Yes, I've know that dread and fear that your stomach was beyond the "oh, I missed lunch" pang and had entered into the truly 40-days-and-40-nights twist and thud of emptiness that made you realize you had entered the world of STARVATION
It has written itself on the doors of a long ago memory
Those days when a box of Rice-a-Roni was split between four people and the treat was Minute Maid for breakfast if it could last the entire week.
Moments when the only concern was food and thinking what you would not do to get it, even as your skinny frame was dropping below 100.
I've known hunger
I know her name
Her name was me

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The Burden

This isn't mine anymore

What?

This.

She stretched out her hands
the parcel neatly wrapped
brown paper
with a
red bow

What is this?

Take it, it is your's.

But

No, it is not mine to carry
Anymore

What do you mean?

I mean that I am giving it back
it was never mine
anyway

I don't understand

You never did.

I don't want it.

Take it.

No.

So she
dropped
it
right
where
she stood.

And turned
and walked away.

The package was never her's to hold.
So she let it go.


Tayé Foster Bradshaw is the poet's nom de plumme. She resides in a suburb of St. Louis surrounded by her family, her books, her pens, and her lattes.

This poem is inspired by the lives and burdens of many women, particularly women of color, who are forced to carry the cares, thoughts, and expectations of others without regard to their own wants, needs, and health. This poem is a release.




Black Mama Tears

It rained this afternoon

Loud claps of thunder

Almost couldn't see the rain

For my tears falling down

Black Mama Tears

too many

dying

in their sleep

on a run

at a store

too many

stopped

just walking

just working

just breathing

It rained today

And I couldn't see

for all the weeping

of

Black

Mamas.

Bridges by Tayé Foster Bradshaw

Walking
across time
Bringing me to you
or
you to me
over a way through-
tears and fears
to bring us to
the other side of possibility
probability
reality
reality
crossing
structures
through
over
under
hold on
don't look down
look down
walk on over
dance on over
wheels on over
over over over
water and roads and
all the modes that
bring
me
to
you
or





you
to
me
collectively
connected
collaborating
across
the great
wide
way


©2016. Tayé Foster Bradshaw Group, Antona Smith. All Rights Reserved.

Bridges used to scare me as a little girl. In the town where I grew up, in order to get from my neighborhood over to the swimming pool or summer activities, we walked. I was always fine until we reached the crest of the hill and that looming structure that connect roads-to-roads, over cars zooming beneath, promising me opportunity on the other side, if I just trusted the weight of my tiny skinny nine-year-old self against the wind blowing or the sun streaming over this manmade steal structure.  My l…