Disowning is the Only Treason

by Lee Sharkey

How sweet the world is when a young black woman with eyes of chocolate hums
as she irons your clothes.  I result from this, the arrival of benignant happiness at
the house of angers, the inculcation of the other mother.  For years I had her for
my own then reenacted the loss of her, finding her face in the faces of strangers,
in an instant silly with desire to follow her/him anywhere, finding her flesh in the
skin of a lanky Ethiopian come to America to learn how to make a revolution.  I
could not tell him he was/was not the body of my longing for the mother
bequeathed me by the goddess of mercy, or that I would pull back from the brink
of his existence though I wanted his stories, disowning is the only, if he entered
by night he would spell me tales of his people, how they conspired against the
tyrant, I would become the displaced woman trekking across desert sands, would
become the human condition, too much for an off-white virginal Emily’s lace
dress sheet shrouded Sylvia P, and learn the nature of his desire, he readying
himself to shape the future of his country not to study courtship rituals of an
American bourgeoise, I might have loved him all the way out of my universe but
I was not enough woman to let black truth enter my body trying so earnestly to
be whitely beautiful and shied away from his loneliness, is the only treason,
loving rather his apparent composure,  unwilling  to  bed  down  his  longing
next  to  mine.