My mother taught herself to prefer
When you can’t get what you want
You learn to want what you need.
She loved her books, her clay pots of herbs on the patio
And her mother’s leather bound bible
With all the good parts lined in red.
Now that’s all gone. The same can’t be said
For my father’s biggest worry in life—
That he would die unexpectedly,
With no time for a change of underwear.
One afternoon, wanting things not to change,
She handed me a pamphlet, “New Facts About Marihuana,”
At a time when my worry was not owning a Gibson guitar
And the smell of gravy was all I inhaled.
The cover had a drawing of a Black man with Rasta hair.
“The book is against it, isn’t it?” she asked a few days later
Leaving out the word Marihuana
Just like so many things were left out
Unless you could point them out, lined in red.
But now—with shadows a tad longer
I suppose they might have been right
My mother, my father, gracious people,
Or at least they had the right reasons to be wrong.