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the best time

By Mahogany L. Browne

the best time i had as a teenager
included a bottle of cisco and a sideshow
at the uptown gas station.
after Kenny’s body was bludgeoned by his girlfriend & her two brothers



the best time

there was no one to tell us we couldn’t
talk loud and follow the sound of our e c h o e s
ragged with haunt and laughter.
before Andre lived to tell about his hit & run accident at the homecoming party



when brown limbs held forty ounces and each other’s ego(S)
      a delicate enchantment.
after Andre was left for dead in a stalled car a year later



the air c r a c k l e d
& the tires squealed a lullaby in the emptying parking lot
we abandoned our smiles for scowls
before Shawn’s body flew through the car windshield



all we knew was move & drink & swivel & the promise          of death
for our kind of brown                    only worthy of
           a casket                                                  caked by the dust
of black bones

Added: Friday, May 13, 2016  /  Used with permission.
Mahogany L. Browne
Photo by Mark Poucher.

Mahogany L. Browne is a writer, organizer & educator. Currently, the Artistic Director of Urban Word NYC, Browne has received literary fellowships from Agnes Gund, Air Serenbe, Cave Canem, Poets House, & Rauschenberg. She is the author of Woke Baby Black Girl Magic (Roaring Brook/Macmillan), Kissing Caskets (Yes Yes Books), & Dear Twitter (Penmanship Books). She resides in Brooklyn, NY.

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