Momma Welfare Roll

Momma Welfare Roll

by Maya Angelou

Her arms semaphore fat triangles,
Pudgy hands bunched on layered hips
Where bones idle under years of fatback
And lima beans.
Her jowls shiver in accusation
Of crimes clichéd by
Repetition. Her children, strangers
To childhood's toys, play
Best the games of darkened doorways,
Rooftop tag, and know the slick feel of
Other people's property.

Too fat to whore,
Too mad to work,
Searches her dreams for the
Lucky sign and walks bare-handed
Into a den of bereaucrats for
Her portion.
'They don't give me welfare.
I take it.'

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Other poems by Maya Angelou (read randomly)

Shadows on the wall
Noises down the hall
Life doesn’t frighten me at all

Give me your hand
Make room for me
to lead and follow

The crystal lrags
Viscous tatters

A last love,
proper in conclusion,
should snip the wings

She came home running
back to the mothering blackness
deep in the smothering blackness

The free bird leaps
on the back of the win
and floats downstream

You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may trod me in the very dirt

We, unaccustomed to courage
exiles from delight
live coiled in shells of loneliness

I note the obvious differences
in the human family.
Some of us are serious,

There are some nights when
sleep plays coy,
aloof and disdainful.

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