Poem by CLS Ferguson


 

What the Court Made Us Carry

The seats outside of the courtroom were full. Everyone looked for their case name. Ours was listed last. We looked forward to the court date for the adoption finalization. That was not this day.

The bailiff carried the authority to excuse us all.

The judge carried the law.

The attorneys carried notepads and briefcases, as if to make themselves look more official than their ill-fitting suits could accomplish.

The mother and father of the first developmentally challenged young man carried a counteroffer to their son’s objection. Their son wanted to be able to choose where he lives. The parents were ready to negotiate but not give in.

The mother and father of the second developmentally challenged young man carried compassion.
Their son clung to his father. The father smiled at his son, helping the young man stay in his seat as the father and mother compassionately and legally took their son’s constitutional rights away.

My father carried his resentment toward my mother and as much love as he could spare for me.

The pastor and his wife—my mother’s best friend of 30 years carried bottles of water and faith that my mother could once again become herself.

My mother carried her notes. Those notes looked just like the bullet points she would type up—always in ALL CAPS to give an inspirational speech to an enthusiastic crowd of Mary Kay Sales Directors. The notes she had that day were bullet points of “facts.” Twisted versions of the truth that no matter how many people showed her evidence to the contrary, she believed whole-heartedly.

I carried my daughter, who my mother could not help but gaze upon. When it was my turn to speak, my husband—my daughter’s father—carried my daughter.

We all carried heavy hearts. Memories of who my mother once was and what her mental illness had recently forced her to become.

 

Artwork © Ira Joel Haber

 

CLS Ferguson, PhD speaks, signs, acts, publishes, sings, performs, writes, paints, professes, and rarely relaxes. Her portrayal of The Black Rose in Silence, which she also co-wrote and produced, earned her a best actress award and a best film award. Her music video, Secrets & Lies earned accolades on the indie film circuit. She is published in numerous academic and literary journals. Her poetry collection, God Bless Paul is out on Rosedog Books. She and her husband, Rich are raising their daughter, Evelyn and their Bernese Mountain Border Collie Mutt, Sadie in Alhambra, CA.

Ira Joel Haber was born and lives in Brooklyn. He is a sculptor, painter, writer, book dealer,photographer and teacher. His work has been seen in numerous group shows bothin the USA and Europe and he has had 9 one man shows including several retrospectives of his sculpture. His work is in the collections of The Whitney Museum Of American Art, New York University, The Guggenheim Museum, The Hirshhorn Museum,The Albright-Knox Art Gallery & The Allen Memorial Art Museum. Since 2006 His paintings, drawings, photographs and collages have been published in over 230 on line and print magazines. He has received three National Endowment for the Arts Fellowships, two Pollock-Krasner grants, the Adolph Gottlieb Foundation grant and, in 2010, he received a grant from Artists’ Fellowship Inc.

 

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