Bangles and Colorful Cloth for Ma


Bangles and Colorful Cloth for Ma

“A poem based on fact dedicated to my Chickasaw Great-Grandmother”

When I was born, you were a young ninety-years old,

your hair pulled tight at the nap of your neck, still black

and bold. At night, you let it down to braid before you

went to bed, it fell to the floor; at first I would watch in

silence from the crack in the door.

The night you caught me peaking through your bedroom

door, I was six, you called me into the room smiling…

asking that I bring you a single broomstick. I quickly plucked

it from mother’s only broom, and rushed back into the dimly

lit room. You showed me how to break it into small pieces;

I looked bewildered your smile accenting all of your dark

wrinkles and creases.

It was then that my eyes opened wide as you put the stick

right through the lob of your ears, its magic I thought; this is

my great-grandmother I have nothing to fear. As a child,

I did not realize that there was a hole, because when I would

touch the bangles on your ears, you would quickly scold.

Just like the time when I tried to sneak a peek at your button

up shoes by raising the hem of your long dress, and you did

not have on shoes, there were moccasins on those tiny feet…

who would have guessed. Yes, I was only a child without a

care, and I spent many hours sitting at the foot of “Ma’s”

old rocking chair.

I never tired of the stories that she would tell, sometimes we

cried together and now I can say it…as a child she lived in a

white man’s world, she called it “hell”. Her parents had walked

on the “Trail of Tears”, proud and strong, with every step

wondering where they had gone wrong.

She helped raise me and she taught me the way, and in those

later years, I was sad when she would tell her stories; she

remembered only the bad. This grand old woman dressed in

bangles and cloths of many colors, with that big ball of hair at the

nap of her neck was a great-grandmother like no other.

She died only days before her birthday; she would have been

one-hundred and five, my daddy said, Ma would say when I die…

do not cry. I was fifteen-years old and the world was bright and

colorful with the artwork of fall, a befitting day to bury this beautiful

and proud Chickasaw.


9 thoughts on “Bangles and Colorful Cloth for Ma

  1. This reminds me of my great grandmother. We called her Ma Doody. She was part Indian, but I don’t know what tribe. When I got the chicken pox at about five or six years old, they took me to her house where she put a herbal concoction on my chest. She was about ninety years old when I was born and died ten years later. Thank you for sharing this with me. Fond memories.

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