A Word About Uncle Peter

If I am sure of anything ever,

I know that I am a Black Queen.

My Uncle Peter told me so

and I believed him.

“C’mere, girl,” he’d say.

when any one of his crowd

of nieces, and daughters and sisters came by,

twirling in our Easter Sunday dresses

he’d cry, “A Queen! A feast for the eyes… you are a Black Queen.”


“If I’m a queen, then you’re a king,” we’d tease.

“No. I am but a jester. A humble servant man,”

He’d tell us, “Black Queens build kingdoms with their own two hands. 

They take an idea from way back in the corner of their mind’s eye,

and make it happen.

They make life happen.”

Then he’d move his hands, hocus pocus style, and take his leave.


There was no question in my mind about the wonder that was me.

And I wasn’t the only one.

When Peter was looking at us,

we were royalty.


He saw things we couldn’t see.

The moon and the stars,

his parents and ours

were there with us in Peter’s eyes.


He was extraordinary- a knight in shining armor

living his life on his own terms.

He’d fix your car, plaster your walls, write you a poem

because you needed him,

and because he wanted to.


Then one day, I married.

Uncle Peter took my groom by the hand and told him,

“This is your queen, you dig?

Be good to her, or send her home.

Those are the only options.

This is a Black Queen.”

It was a step up from when he would threaten teenage boys

 with crossbows and Bowie knives,

but the message was the same.

Take care of her.


So when it was time for him to pass out of our little kingdom

and into the next

we stood aside.

Because the first rule of Black Queens is to treat your subjects fairly,

and it wasn’t fair to ask him to stay.


We said our goodbyes, however reluctantly.


And then, hocus pocus, he took his leave.


I still feel as if I’m the moon and the stars

his parents and ours.

Thanks to Peter Green, I’ll always be a Black Queen.






About thanks amen

Michelle is an artist from Milwaukee, Wisconsin whose professional experience spans working as an educator, nonprofit executive, and consultant. She has a fear of clowns and pecans, and works every day to listen at least twice as much as she talks.
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5 Responses to A Word About Uncle Peter

  1. Mary Dobbs says:

    Love it!!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. David Henderson says:

    Michelle, You have always been my Black Queen and you always will. With wet eyes I love you, David “Above all, trust in the slow work of God.”

  3. L Frankie Green says:

    Shelly as the grandmothers once said while riding the train to N’Orleans for Yvettes’ graduation in 1988 ?? “You got the Motts babygirl” meaning you got it going on, you know whats happening, you own it all….keep up the great writing this time I am smiling through my tears….

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