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 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.