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4 Poems: Patricia Biela and Suze Baron

MAMIE'S HANDS by Patricia Biela

Grand-mère, je vois tes mains. Your hands coddle infants nourish your children.

Mamie, je vois tes mains. Your hands interlock God. Rosary beads hang.

Grand-mère, je vois tes mains. Your hands plant mango and bananane.

Mamie, je vois tes mains. Your hands teach poise, strength. My hands wait for yours.

(Virginia, April 25, 2011)


MAMA by Suze Baron

Because Mama cannot hear   and because she talks nonsense

everytime she opens her mouth  Everyone avoids her   Everyone

includes my children and me   Mama lives with us

Because Grandpa   Grandma   Unky and Aunty are dead   and because

Mama has no whys and wherefores in life   she’s lonely   very lonely

Grandpa   Grandma   Unky and Aunty loved Mama   They would have

taken time to listen to her   when she babbles nonsense they would

have understood

Because they’re dead   Mama is left with children who are burdened

by her presence   Children   she loves and for whom she would still

sacrifice her life

My brothers   Fritz and Serge   visit every Saturday   Fritz brings

drinks and Serge fruits   But because they’re busy men   they visit in a


Joseph   the oldest   used to visit and stay a long time   He used to take

Mama to Pinelawn to our sister’s grave   He doesn’t do this anymore

It’s something about inheritance   Mama didn’t give him the piece of

property he wanted Because Mama is lonely…


PIANO TALK by Suze Baron

I heard that piano talk Sista Maggie made that piano talk Them notes got up Them notes got up walked around ’til they found Sista Murray

They went through her soul They went through her mind They went through her body

& started Sista Murray jumpin’ She jumped up an’ down like piano keys stretched out her arms like a preacher preachin’ An’ when she came to She came to like a lover who’s done had some lovin’



For Erika DeRuth

It happens every time in the wee hours of the night when stars sit like men on checkerboards

It happens before the cock-a-doodle-doo of the rooster and ribbit-ribbits of the frog

It happens when darkness shades sections of the earth and all is quiet

Yes that is the time the mind leaves the skull to run wild

It happens every time in the wee hours of the night when lovers kiss caress conceive a child

It happens when the breathing of children blends with the ticking of the cuckoo clock

It happens when the streets are empty and cats in heat sing their songs

Yes that is the time the mind leaves the skull to run wild

It happens every time in the wee hours of the night when the heart grieves rips itself to pieces

It happens when raccoons roam the streets the alleys kill cats eat their kittens

It happens when loas enter heads overtake souls during voodoo dances

Yes that is the time the mind leaves the skull to run wild


Suze Baron is Haitian American, former Registered Nurse, and a Family Tree Enthusiast. Her books are at The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture.

Patricia Biela is a native of Maryland and is a UVA grad with a BA in Psychology. A first generation American, she is of Angolan and Haitian descent. Biela is a Cave Canem South Fellow and has participated in 18 writing workshops including Callaloo, Cave Canem South, How Writers Write Poetry--International Writing Program-The University of Iowa, Hurston/Wright, Provincetown, and Dr. Tony Medina's Poetry Boot Camp. Her poems appear in Barely South Review, Berkeley Poetry Review, The Caribbean Writer, Drumvoices Revue, and World Haiku Review among others. She has a poem exhibited in Epiphany Salon and Spa, Washington, D.C. Biela has editing experience, and has written over 25 articles, some of which appear in Brainworld Magazine and Funds for Writers—Writing Kid. She is a third generation educator, teaches poetry workshops to retirees, and to other adults. Biela is honored to be in the Duke Young Writers' Camp teaching family. Her poem, "Please Leave a Message" can be found on Apple Music, CD Baby, Google Play, iHeartRadio, iTunes, Napster, Spotify, and more. Biela is also an English as a Second Language (ESL) teacher and has over 200 students spanning the globe.

1 Comment

Billi Jean
Billi Jean
Jul 25, 2023

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