Juneteenth

I ate all the barbecue
because I wanted to
It was my choice

The park opened gently
when we entered the mouth that receives
most Brooklynites
With my daughter, I enter the victory lap

We are overtaken
by West Indian bikers in cobalt
their speed whips up our hair
but we are also cared for
in shady gestures of 1 o'clock
We are one woman split

Motherhood is seeing yourself emancipated
in the speed of her pink scooter
on a frictionless ride
headed toward a gathering space

8 years ago,
I took my bike here and couldn't glide like that

This is what I've learned since then:

The only way to love a conqueror is to leave him
The only way to survive is to kill him
with the baton of your umbrella and a really good friend
Then, look Sir (or ghost as it were) in the eye and proclaim,
Were it not for my meekness, I would be gone

My daughter and I are received
at Prospect Park West wearing gowns
expecting salty sweet burnt meat
cold tangy gelato
these are gifts and the reception is parallel
to all my inherited dreams

I wipe my sweat
I am sweating for home
I mourn my mother's cooking in every bite
and search for her quick visits here
I think she is here too, also wearing a gown

But, I am waiting for his arrival
Do you know this man?
He is greeted with "Daddy!" but
sung in hymns of longing
Call me impatient
expectant of messengers...

And then he comes
takes one look at me and says,
Didn't you know? You were free this whole time.

I sip wine
fermented sacrifices at my banquet
at my picnic, I drink all the wine
It's my right