Mother kissing and hugging baby

A Mother’s Song


if I were a singer of songs

I’d lift my voice mountain high in

praise of mothers

women who give body and soul

for family

scrub other people’s floors and

launch their children’s dreams on

swollen knees and bruised knuckles

while wading in puddles of splintered suds

mothers who would take the weight of Atlas’ world

If he failed to hold it steady giving solid footing

to her children

I’d sing lessons learned on mama’s knee

teaching me about “going on” at times

when I felt there was no place to go

and when I needed inspiration I’d think about

little Miguel’s mother who pitched batting practice

after work, giving her son prayers and faith

to go along with his bat and glove

so he wouldn’t strike out

when his dreams threw curves

I’d take the rhythms of mama’s pots and pans

add a melody line and recall how she made

a symphony of leftovers that fed hope

to young dreamers

like Debra’s mother who

sharpened pencils on the

cutting edge of her teeth ‘cause

her daughter wanted to be a writer –

who always found time to make model airplanes

with her son Kashif whose

dreams were about flight

and at times when his dreams seemed

out of reach

she’d pull the heavens down

to tuck him in at night

if I were a singer of songs

I’d sing mother love equations

giving 364 days a year

receiving one in return and

calling it even

if I were a singer of songs

I’d clap my hands

stomp my feet

lift my voice mountain high and pull

a praise song for mothers

from the depths of my soul.


–Layding Lumumba Kaliba





Reprinted from the book in the absence of god, an auto-poemography by Layding Lumumba Kaliba