“The Albatross” by Ellen June Wright

Issue 24 / Winter 2021 / Special Issue: Pleasure

No angels told my mother I was coming.
I weighed heavy on her mind nine months
as she worked with the other Jamaican
women at Batchelor Peas in Huntingdon,

on the canning factory floor until the day
before I was born. In 1962, I weighed
her down like an albatross or something
else to free herself of as soon as she could,

but when I came, something like an angel
stirred the waters in her as at the Pool of
Bethesda, where the infirm of every kind
gathered, and gave her hope of healing.

It’s bad luck to kill an albatross, so she gave
birth to me instead and did not send me away.

 

 

Ellen June Wright was born in Bedford, England of West Indian parents. She has worked as a consultant on guides for three PBS poetry series. She has been published in Louisiana Literature, Exit 13, Fourth River, and Hurricane Review, and is the founder of Poets of Color virtual poetry workshop.

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