Recorded for Poem-a-Day February 7, 2019.
About this Poem 

“This is probably one of the most embarrassing moments for my daughter but it became a timestamp for my uncertainty as a mother of a pre-teen. Using couplets required me to keep it brief, with a structure that confined the reader until the gut-punch ending. I wanted to offer an honest and introspective moment of a girl growing into a young lady, and I try not to place such a heavy expectation on such a seemingly flash-in-the-pan moment but the more I edited this piece, the more I realized I was only a mirror of my own memories. I experienced this sort of sexual awakening in my teens but it was because of her that I was able to voice the fear of losing (my daughter) as she experienced such a fleeting sweetness. This confessional snapshot became an offering to my daughter. I felt I had little control over the romance that would color her womanhood—the same way, I'm sure, my mother felt about me.”
—Mahogany L. Browne

Inevitable

when I dropped my 12-year-old off at her first
homecoming dance, I tried not to look
 
her newly-developed breasts, all surprise and alert
in their uncertainty. I tried not to imagine her
 
mashed between a young man's curiousness
and the gym's sweaty wall. I tried not picture
 
her grinding off beat/on time to the rhythm
of a dark manchild; the one who whispered
 
“you are the most beautiful girl in brooklyn”
his swag so sincere, she'd easily mistaken him for a god.

Copyright © 2019 by Mahogany L. Browne. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on February 7, 2019, by the Academy of American Poets.

Copyright © 2019 by Mahogany L. Browne. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on February 7, 2019, by the Academy of American Poets.

Mahogany L Browne

Mahogany L. Browne

Mahogany L. Browne is the author of Redbone (Aquarius Press, 2015) and #Dear Twitter: Love Letters Hashed Out Online (Penmanship Books, 2010).

by this poet

poem

I wish I knew how
It would feel to be free
I wish I could break
All the chains holding me —Nina Simone


today i am a black woman in america
& i am singing a melody ridden lullaby
it sounds like:
              the gentrification of a brooklyn stoop

2
poem

Bam got tight eyes 
             Real tight 
He crazy, girl 
             But he fun to be around 
He’s so funny 
             He the life of the party 
He the oldest of them boys over on Alcatraz 
             He love them birds – the pigeons 
That’s what I heard 

poem

the blk(est) night
be a blk girl

she think

her hair
too good
    & her waist
    too small
        & her fit
        too cute
            & her jeans
            too flyy

& her mama ain't nothing
like her
& the bitches
on