Poetry

My One Family Photo

I only have one nuclear family picture.
It is not professionally taken
Or beautifully framed.
Its chipped and ripped
From being poorly maintained.
It’s the only picture I have
Of my father, mother, sister & I.
It is so old
And I was so young
You wouldn’t even recognize.
Regardless, It is special to me
Because I have no record
Of my parents together
Not even in my distant memory.
When they split I was 4
And I’m not sure why.
Their love didn’t last
but for me they subside.
I was only four
When my center tore
Yet I was never broken, bitter or sore.
We didn’t have to move, battle
Or go through a divorce.
Imagine, never knowing
Both halves of you combined;
Never seeing them kissing, holding hands
Or even standing side by side.
To interact with one
Never involved the other;
When I was spending time with my dad
It never involved my mother.
My childhood was lived
Through 2 different lives;
One home on the weekdays
Another on the weekends,
Playing at 2 different parks
With 2 separate sets of friends,
Dropped off and picked up from school
By two individual cars.
They coordinated behind the scenes
Never making contact in front of me.
Raised with 2 sets of chores
And 2 morning routines.
My Father and Mother
Individual, Independent, discrete
Separate but equal.
My distant memory of a nuclear family
Will never have a squeal,
But I am not broken
I am complete and whole.
Never accept the dangerous lies
You’ve been told.
There is no “right” type of family
Whether nuclear, joint
Or single-parent structured.
Families binding together after painful pasts
That is why I am blessed
By rich black-American culture.
Bounded together by babies, blessings and re-marriage
This is a structure
That we created.
That you and I should cherish
There are no words
In a white man’s dictionary to describe
Our family expansion
Mom dad brother sister
grandparents aunt uncle cousin
those are all the words they have
They’re limited, restricted, unloving
We’ve created names
babymamas and daddies
my hubby and my bae
these characters they took and drowned
in humiliation and shame
Since we were bought
We were never allowed to bond
Sold and ripped from my mothers embrace
Now she is forever gone
Torn from my brothers and sisters
To be raped daily by white misters
Now they think that after this
We will sit back and embrace their “right” culture
After you split us up
And picked us apart like white vultures
We still rise up
And bond together
Singlemamas, Babydaddys, Homies, Sistas and all
Although shaken and beaten
We have yet to fall
So although
Seeing my parents together
In one old photo
Is special to me
Nuclear is not right
It is white
white supremecy
Love and Embrace the bonds
We can now legally form
To Strip and Expose the evil shadow of old white norms
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About Amani Sawari

I am a University of Washington alum, Class of 2016. I graduated with my Bachelors Degree in two majors: Media and Communications AND Law, Economics and Public Policy. It's a mouthful but it illustrates how I have a hard time doing only one 'thing'. I am a writer, poet, singer, songwriter and much more. I enjoy sharing my experiences and perspectives with those who are interested and I am a proud member of the black diaspora!
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