In May, Terry gave collaborating poet Chiwan Choi four prompts. He engaged in fevered writing with each prompt and gave her the results. This poem is composed by Terry of words from Chiwan’s fevered writing.
The Bear Mother
She is pregnant with mistake.
She gathers photos—Tamir Rice,
Freddie Gray—everyone she did not protect.
Her sentence: To keep a list of goodbyes.
She tries to forget the nameless ones
but they crawl into her years.
Memories jump her bones, pimp her mercy
on a downtown sidewalk. Cement does not
catch her, church does not bless her.
Not your goddess, not your pet,
she swallows her handmade tragedy.
Her windows open to darkness.
Say her name with the mouths of alleys;
hold her with a hard old smile.
In her bed, the hours crumble,
this partial home of water, skin, light.
When you find welts on your arm
don’t ask if her hands left them.
This woman thirsts for nobody.
She’s not a child. Mountains
do not bend toward her rain.
She does not wait
for mourning to begin.
She will punch the sun blind.