Mama’s Magic

My mama is magic.

Always was and always will be.

There is one phrase that constantly bubbled

from the lips of her five children,

“My momma can do it.”

We thought my mama knew everything.

Believed she did, as if she were born full grown

from the Encyclopedia of Britannica.

I could tell you stories

of how she transformed

a run down paint peeled shack

into a home.

How she heated us with tin tub baths

from a kettle on the stove.

Poured it over in there like an elixir.

My mama is protection

like those quilts her mother used to make.

She tucked us in with cut out history all around us.

We found we could walk anywhere in this world

and not feel alone.

My mama never whispered the shame of poverty

in our ears.

She taught us to dance to our own shadows.

“Pay no attention to those grand parties

on the other side of the tracks.

Make your own music,” she’d say

as she walked,

she cleaned

the sagging floorboards of that place.

“You’ll get there.”

“You’ll get there.”

Her broom seemed to say with every wisp.

We were my mama’s favorite recipe.

She whipped us up in a big brown bowl

supported by her big brown arms.

We were homemade children.

Stitched together with homemade love.

We didn’t get everything we ever wanted

but we lacked for nothing.

We looked at the stars in my mama’s eyes

They told us we owned the world.

We walked like kings and queens

even on midnight trips to the outhouse.

We were under her spell.

My mama didn’t study at no

Harvard or Yale.

The things she knew

you couldn’t learn in no book!


How to make your life sing like

sweet potato pie sweetness

out of an open window.

How to make anybody feel at home.

How at just the right moment be silent

and with her eyes say,

“Everything’s gonna be alright, chile,

everything is gonna be alright.”

How she tended to all our sickness.

How she raised our spirits.

How she kept flowers

living on our sagging porch

in the midst of family chaos.

My mama raised children like

it was her business in life.

Put us on her hip and kept moving,

keeping that house Pine-Sol clean.

Yeah, my mama is magic.

Always was and always will be.

Her magic?

How to stay steady and sure

in this fast paced world.

Now when people look at me

with my head held high

my back erect

and look at me with that…

“Who does she think she is?”

I just keep on


with the

assurance inside.

I am Black Magic!

I am Jeanette Redmond’s child.