Let's start with the title: "Black Mother Woman." When I read the title, it strikes me as three separate nouns used to define a single human being. The subject of the poem is all of these things and, sometimes, just one at a time, depending on who is looking at her and what that viewer wants to see.
In the poem, a narrator speaks directly to her mother—a woman whom she describes as hard and angry and determined not to appear weak. The narrator understands now why her mother acted in the way that she did and realizes that her mother's toughness was key in forming her daughter's good, strong character.
The first stanza uses contrast:
I cannot recall you gentle
yet through your heavy love
I have become
an image of your once-delicate flesh
split with deceitful longings.
The narrator negates the image of her mother as "gentle," which contrasts with our expectation of what maternal love is like—warm and gentle. Instead, the narrator received "heavy love," a phrase which produces a sense of love...
(The entire section contains 752 words.)