a new and alien purpose

it is a selfish phase
that’s what i’m going through
he told me

nearly 30 years later
my mind still has not quite
wrapped itself around this idea

selfishness is a phase
one can simply
go through

is it like the
journey through lima ohio
on your way to the kentucky border

is it more like
noah’s journey
with 40 days of
rain as backdrop

what does one pack
when selfishness is
the cruise and destination

or is the intent to
unload so you head
into it empty handed

southern granma’s
throw out selfishness
like slop for sows

it is collected in
emptied out
country time canisters

layered with
potato shavings
chicken innards

fish tails and
sour milk
the stink of it

the sin of it and
you you selfish girl
are the one to toss it

into the trowel
who voluntarily
enters a phase

label it selfish
and publicize that
to the world outside

someone of privilege
not black and female
raised with southern

sensibilities b/c
the last thing you
think of is you

14068609_10210712104943391_1101082800226138842_oselfishness is a word that does not compute to a generation raised to see themselves as part of a whole. in households such as these your purpose is to serve the greater good. anything outside of the greater good is sinful and will be examined like a cancer. the idea that you would do something just for you because you wanted it is foreign and frankly disturbing. until you wake up and the others who made up we have gone their own way and you are the only one left holding up the banner of ‘our.’ at that point charting a course for selfish becomes a new and alien purpose.

4 Comments Add yours

  1. This is one of my favorites! (or have I said that a lot lately?) I really like your work. Especially this:
    is it like the
    journey through lima ohio
    on your way to the kentucky border

    1. Thank you. I’m playing with language no longer focused on the prompts.

  2. heyannis says:

    Loved this one, too, Wanda. Your writing brings forth such rich images. This is one I especially liked today: “what does one pack
    when selfishness is
    the cruise and destination”
    and then there came this:
    “southern granmas
    throw out selfishness
    like slop for sows”
    Thank you so much. xoA

    1. I’m on the lookout for my poetic ‘sweet spot’. I appreciate your feedback.

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