& the person behind the counter is a man

& he reminds me of my father

& he is a gray haired, pretentious, bastard

& he is talking slow and careful

& somehow I have begun to romanticize our meeting

& take him in my closet to dream his shirt off

& he is mine

& we fall apart between spring and summer

& I begin again

& then the man says: “6 dollars and 50 cents”

& I look up

& my father is gone

& I recognize there’s something about loving a man who’s hurt you




Maybe, we all got on the flight to America;

our sister and I shared the window seat;

you sat on mummy’s lap

and then she left us.

Maybe, you will have your first birthday in Apt 5A.

Cake, ice cream and our sister’s cries

balanced on the rooftop of grandma’s bad temper.

Then, we grow up sitting stone faced on top of the blue velvet sofa,

silent talking, believing’: “mum’s coming back.”

We brave the brown leather straps; eat Dinty Moore beef stew,

and read stories about siblings who were abandoned

but still humane enough to leave bread for the birds.

I can see us all now; checks stamped to our foreheads,

overweight and voiceless;

Maybe we will love each other?

Subsequently, mum will return with war stories

by courtesy of her husband who proudly smashes her face against the seasons.

But then again, you can always pretend it never happened;

slip out of mummy’s lap,

cry on the white beach of Barbados, pick up your packages from the Mail service,

eat Avocados out of your backyard

and write Christmas cards to the 17-year-old that birthed you…


Kay Bell has been writing since her 6th grade teacher introduced her to the poetry form: Haiku. She can be quoted: “If it makes me cry, sweat or bleed, then it is worth writing about”. Kay Bell has been published by the online quarterly journal “The American Aesthetic”, in the book “Brown Molasses Sunday: An Anthology of Black Women Writers” as well as in other venues. She is earning a MFA at The City College of New York.

June 8, 2018


This was awesome! While it was deep although it was painful, It still seemed so refreshing.

Great job to you!!!

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