s. badiyah austin

3

because she’s way too gangsta for her own good.

because she’s barely rockin’ that hat on her head…like a bawse.

and stuffin’ her mouth…like a messy bawse.

and because i’m sure she thinks that ‘converse’ are the only sneakers ever invented…

(since her mother is über bias against other sneakers except for, maybe, that one time i bought her adidas, because, well…adidas).

2

because i met him at the corner of broad and erie, smiling to the world and mumbling to the wind.

because he told me that he doesn’t remember the last time he was photographed.

because when i asked “where is your family”? he opened his arms, as if to embrace the world, and replied “look around”.

because he is the reason i talk to strangers often, and the reason i no longer believe in “strangers” at all.

because his name is “ennis”, he said, “like my mama said ‘who the f*ck even needs a d' ”.

because i met a brown gyal today with the oldest of souls, and the brightest of eyes and biggest of hearts…

who told me of not one, but eleven of her bestest of friends…

who ate cherry water ice while snuggled up to her mother and giggled when i playfully pulled at one of her pigtails…

who reminded me of every brown gyal before her that i protect and root for in my prayers and daily sacrifices…

who played with my baby and made her giggle while her mother and i traded motherly war stories trying to out best each other for horrors…

and it wasn’t until we all walked away into separate worlds of equal plights did i realize that not one name was ever exchanged, but not one name was ever needed. i know her now and she knows me, too and when we meet again we will hug like long lost relatives come home again and this…

aren’t we a lovely folk? smile, brown gyal, smile…