Norene by Andy O’Leary

First, there’s a clarinet

Not alarm clocked.

Licorice stick breeze

Next, it’s coffee

Black and vanilla.

It was stolen culture, but I grew up there

So, it’s home to me.

Nduja and over easys

Mountain wave cloud sunny grey

Moist air morning in the high desert

First she was humming

Now she’s singing in a language

I don’t follow but I know the song.

Her babies are far away, and she is in

this strange land that is her home now.

It’s rarely hot and muggy here

But today will remind her of the children.

She keeps her sadness unseen

unless you knew her back then.

She has a dryer, but she hangs her wash.

It’s a flag gesture declaring her sovereignty.

She’s not a fish out of water

She’s a bird on the ground!

Her wings are the notes of her song.

We honor and celebrate Mothers on the Nightside on Sunday, May 12 from 9 p.m. to midnight.

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Poetry by Andy O’
Photography: Florence Owens Thompson / Migrant Mother

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