Monday, October 21, 2013

Kamilah Aisha Moon's other kinds of love poems

Mention "love poems," and people usually think you have writings where one person expresses romantic love for someone else. But reading Kamilah Aisha Moon's She Has a Name is filled with love poems of a different kind. Her works evoke the love for a sister and daughter from various family members.

Moon's poem "Love is a Basic Science" opens by noting that "They ran tests," presumably on a girl with autism, who is the subject of much of the volume. The doctors "looked for reasons / she learned like molasses." Despite any seemingly perceivable flaws or shortcomings the girl seemed to possess, for her family, "It wasn't extraordinary in our minds / to love her"  (15).

In "Directions," the mother gives the other two sisters instructions on how to best care for their sister. "I don't believe," she says that "you care as much as I do. I want to, but / how could you, really?" And later, the mother says, "But I need you / to carry her, to want to carry her" (40).

Poems in the book are told from multiple perspectives, including the parents, the mom and dad individually, and the sister. As a result, the love or loves expressed toward and about the sister are multifaceted. The sisters, for instance, love their sister naturally, so to speak, but we also witness the mother giving them directions on how to care for their sibling even more.     

Moon's poems are touching and charming. She writes love poems of a different order.

A notebook on Kamilah Aisha Moon

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