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I Don't Think That's What They Meant

Have you ever heard someone speak in double entendre?

Their words could have one meaning or the other


Or you could say something from one perspective

But their mindset renders your words ineffective.

And because their mind has a different skew

They can repeat your words, nod their head

But the meaning is a different view.


When I was a little girl

I lived in a Victorian home

Grammy lived down stairs

It was a safe loving zone.


Stained glass; mahogany wood,

Thick banister railings,

Pocket doors, lace curtains

Our paw footed dining table

With paisley engravings.


A cut crystal punch bowl

An embossed silver crumber

A baby grand piano

Gold trimmed china & glass tumblers.


My mothers’ mink and fox stoles

With the foxes head & feet still attached.

When you squeeze the back of the foxes head

The mouth opens to be used as a clasp.


A floor model Zenith

A big black Buick

Felix-the-Cat clock tail & eyes sway

Back & forth with each tick.


An Easy Bake Oven,

Summer camp in the woods,

A doll house, bikes, skates

My childhood was really good.


The youngest of four

My concerns revolved around

Doing well in school, going to church

The choir and my sepranino sound.


Silk party dresses

With a hoop petticoat

Private school, ballet lessons,

A cherry tree to climb; a lawn to mow.


A steel gray wool coat

With a fox muff and big fluffy collar

White Alligator Mary Janes

A savings account for my birthday dollars.


My chore was to wipe the baseboards

With a soft cloth,

My brother cleaned the gutters -

My Father did outside work, going non-stop.


I was lying on my husbands’ roof

Cleaning out his gutters

I told my white sister in law ‘This is a lot to do”

Internally reverencing my brother.


In her sing song-y patronizing tone

‘Yes a house is a lot of work’

I never would have said anything

If I’d known she’d be such a jerk.


Always trying to make me one of the disenfranchised

This woman was hell bent

A house is a lot of work but my family used to do it

But I don’t think that’s what she meant.


Her song continued

“We’re products of our environment.”

I remembered love, inheritance & support.

But I don’t think that’s what she meant.


“Your Black!  Your Black!”

Her emotions no longer pent.

I thought of hard work & dedication.

But I don’t think that’s what she meant.


Once we’re better acquainted

You’ll see differently

My minds voice said

“This is what I get for marrying beneath me”


“How can I!?  It’s right in my face.” She continued

Your $1/2 million dollar house with neighbors mostly Caucasian

Your ugly behavior

That’s what I get for marrying beneath my station.


I was clearing the perimeter of my husband’s house

35 years of overgrown brush.

His cousin lived two doors down

‘You can clear my property too since you like doing it so much.’


He had a big tree with a horizontal branch;

The type great for a swing,

Or the support for a tree house -  

A place for a child’s imaginings.


“Just don’t cut down that branch.

That’s a good hangin’ branch.” he said.

I know I heard him correctly.

A picture of lynching flashed in my head.


His other cousin, to break the tension asked

“Can I get you anything?”

I envisioned the noose around my neck

“Like what?  A stool…

So you can kick it out from underneath me?


Yeah, it’s a good hanging branch

For a swing or support because it’s not bent

But no matter how I try

“I don’t think that’s what he meant.”


Copyrighted 2009