Riordan Strong

by Hakim Bellamy, Albuquerque’s Inaugural Poet Laureate


Dear Averie & Joshua,

 You don’t know me. That’s not important. But I know you…and I know the only person in the universe who loves you as much as your Dad. Your Mom was more than just a friendly face. She was the face of giving, if you were an idea of a dream that needed a little help…she was your gal. She believed in people more than they believed in themselves. And even if you weren’t fortunate enough to acquire the support of her employer…you knew you always had hers. And you could take that to the bank. Her currency was compassion, the kind of kindness that folds. Like a hug, like a laugh. Like her wings, before she was so close to Heaven…that the angels recognized her and plucked her from the sky. Forever there…just to the left of that star, looking just like the twinkle in her eye. Smile lines that don’t lie, evidence of a life well loved. Grateful to you, the fuel that fed her drive to make our future…go. Her love of humans, born of the both of you…this State, the beneficiaries of her secondhand hope…overflowing…like a superhero’s heart. To me…a poet, she was the wink of encouragement…how she co-signed me living my best life…like “I” was walking off a baseball field after extra innings of pitching poems…often to rooms full of people that don’t look like me, a little less in their 30s, a little less artistic, a little less “colorful”…at a Quarterly Stakeholders Meeting… right before or after the Mayor speaks. And though a find myself on these mounds ever so frequently…it’s no less scary. You hope they get you, and your love for this place. But your Mom, she got me. My back and my soul. Thank you for teaching her how to make us all brave, every time we are at bat.