• The Only Space

GRITS


On the seventh morning, yet again,


my first breath was not filled with the smell of bacon.


In that mourning,


I realized that the last of the women


That woke up before day to fry bacon


so that the people they loved could wake up to smell of bacon


were gone to glory.


I arose and went to the stove to make grits for the woman


that used to make homemade ice cream and candy reefs.


I got out the pot.


Lit the stove.


Boiled the water.


Added the grits.


Added the salt and the butter. 


And before they began to boil, 


I stirred them.


And stirred them.


And stirred them.


And stirred them, again


until they came to a boil.


And I stirred them.


Some escaped and burned my hand.


I ignored the pain.


And I stirred them.


And I stirred them.


And I stirred them.


I stirred until they were thick and creamy


which is just the way she liked them. 


I offered her these perfectly creamed grits hoping they’d be good enough


for her to start making candy reefs and homemade ice cream,


again. 


After her first bite I asked,


Why did you stop making candy reefs and homemade ice cream?


She replied, go ask your father.


And so, I asked


Dear father


Where is your father’s garden?


Where do I go searching for you? 


He spoke of the ghost of man who was a ghost of man


who came home drunk and broke whatever was in his path.


I asked again


Where is your father’s garden?


Where do I go searching for you?


He spoke of the temper we inherited from him and


the beasts inside of us that we try not to awaken.  


I asked again


Do fathers have gardens?


Can we join hands and go searching for your father’s garden? 


Can we discover the dreams he had to watch die?  


What food did he like to eat? 


What dishes and dreams we can bring to his altar?


Can we pull out the weeds


and plant a tree?




The Writer Behind the Writing



Dr. Berlisha P. Morton


Berlisha R. Morton is an intellectual activist, performance artist and afrofuturista who studies and performs Blackness. She received her doctorate from Louisiana State University and her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Southern University and A&M College, an Historically Black College and University (HBCU) in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Her scholarship has appeared in the Encyclopedia of African American Education, The Western Journal of Black Studies, the Journal of Curriculum Theorizing, the Gender and Education journal and in edited volumes on African American students’ college readiness and Black women’s educational philosophy. She wrote and produced a one act play, Utterances: An Afrofuturistic Ghost Story. Her scholarship and art are driven by a desire to acknowledge the intellectual and spiritual contributions of women like her grandmother and great-aunt – lifelong domestic workers who had little formal education— to literary and educational canons.


Dr. Morton will be hosting a writer's workshop for the TOS family on Sunday 27th September 2020.

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