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1971

A poem by Cj Coleman

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at seven my mother taught me
how to make a bed with
hospital corners

taught me how to smooth
the sheets
from top to bottom

be sure to pull at the top sheet
tight,
tuck it under at the bottom
and make the folds crisp
like an angle
on both sides

i watched
and thought the beds looked
just like the box corners of the
foil wrapped gifts
she'd given me at christmas

we went room to room that morning
until all seven beds were done
and i asked my mother why

why she needed to show me
how to make a bed look?

she said just in case

just in case i ever had to
make a white woman's
bed someday

i'd be ready.

- Cj Coleman

Cj Coleman has lived in Pittsburgh since 1988. She and her family currently reside in Edgewood. Many writers featured in Chapter & Verse are guests of Prosody, produced by Jan Beatty and Ellen Wadey. Prosody airs every Saturday morning on 90.5 FM.

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