Momma Welfare Roll by Maya Angelou

Her arms semaphore fat triangles,
Pudgy HANDS bunched on layered hips
Where bones idle under years of fatback
And lima beans.

Her jowls shiver in accusation
Of crimes cliched by Repetition.
Her children, strangers
To childhood's TOYS, play
Best the games of darkened doorways,
Rooftop tag, and know the slick feel of
Other people's property.

Too fat to whore,
Too mad to work,
Searches her dreams for the
Lucky sign and walks bare-handed
Into a den of bereaucrats for her portion.

'They don't give me welfare.
I take it.'

by Maya Angelou

author, poet, historian, songwriter, playwright, dancer, stage and screen producer, director, performer, singer, and civil rights activist

Other poems by 'Maya Angelou'

Still I Rise

Phenomenal Woman

I know why the caged bird sings

Touched by An Angel

Men

Alone

A Conceit

Woman Work

The Lesson

Remembrance

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