Aunt Yvonne charged down Cox Street
carrying her sorcerer’s bag —
filled with spell books and fairy dust —
like a sword
to battle the demons who threatened our safe kingdom.
Aunt Yvonne — proud pastry chef at
“one of the finest white restaurants in Jackson, Mississippi”
where colored people entered through the kitchen
and stayed there.
From that kitchen, Aunt Yvonne conjured
the lightest biscuits in town.
“Feathers!” some exclaimed.
“Clouds!!” they rhapsodized.
No white person who ate Aunt Yvonne’s cooking
ever choked on quills
or saw her tears flow like rain.
She returned to us each night
with her bag full of treasure
for two little girls who had fought sleep
to greet their “Aunty Vonne”
who had braved the nether world to fight for us.
She always brought us her softest clouds to eat.
She had taken care to season them herself
so we would not have to swallow our own tears.
She charmed the pale ogres
masked as helpless elders
She deceived the white dragons
disguised as courtly ladies and gentlemen.
So they mistook her for a plain and harmless colored girl
wearing the uniform of subservience.
Seduced by her smile,
they never pierced her armor
nor realized she fed them slow poison
of bitterness and pain
inside their featherlight bread.
And they never knew she took back the best of her magic
to feed us divine dreams.