^^^
Crowned

by Mahogany L. Browne

 


               ^^^^^^
If the mouth is a house
Then most days I am homeless

My Mama taught me              ____     
women are loved best when silent

Once I leaned into a man's shoulder blade
                                           _____
I haven't found my tongue ever since

I hear my father is a dream boat
 
It is no wonder I am afraid of the sea
                                           _____
Each wave carries a sound I don't have the courage to carry

             ^^^^^^
If the mouth has four walls
Then is the roof a spotless wonder?

                                                   ^^^^^^
My Mama fetched her voice box for a pipe once//I've been scared of smoke ever since

        ^^^^^^
No mouth no cave no casket no shadow

         ^^^^^^
My mouth harbors love like a well
Except most days the well feels dry
No one told me how to replenish
I've been taught to fear large bodies of water

& boats
& men w/the collarbone of a man i can't remember but will always Shazam in the dance of my dream 

                    ^^^^^^ _______
Mommy mouth screamed at a gun twice
Each shot siren sung like an air raid or a prison break or a black man's back
                                                                 ____
I am always concerned w/my tone
San Quinetin children learn they place
In the limestone

Somewhere;

My father got a skeleton awake & swaying
                       I'm still afraid to go home\\

I've learned to live amongst a commune of
ghosts

Each ghost got a special something
& remind me of sin

                                                  ^^^^      ____
Where all the women talk real loud
Let men marry them or not
Hit them or not
Leave them then come back
Years passed and skin sagged
Locks unchained

^^^^^^^
Mouths unhinged
& swinging hello to any two-bit hustler w/swagger

No matter he arrive w/another woman's scent tucked against his collarbone 

                                                ^^^^
My mommy used to sing to me
I've no prove
- but my bones are certain of this

Anytime I hear a horn scuttle across the dusty room
I think:  "this is what heartache feels like in summer" 
or               "this sound smells like my mother" 

I heard,
                  death is the best kind of sleep 

I weep well into dusk      
- my shadow bucks against the sheets
                  a good song        
         
The next morning    
I wake                                                            a thrashing black woman
                                                                 ^^^^^
w/a bullet lodged between my teeth