Mother, when my blood rises
it is you that flows through
my veins—all these numbers
I never understood are yours—
diastolic and systolic.

Your heirlooms can kill—
a serious inheritance—
give me something else to pass
on, and not this mystery
strange as Delphi—

song rising in the temples,
rush of river though the gorge,
birthright, pulsing gift
raised on fatback, grits, and biscuits.

The pythia tends the oracle
so I tend these rising numbers—
and see your death
as water rising in a stream.

Further Reading