Fool had ten thousand acres

but needed my ass to make it complete.

He rubbed me like a good luck charm

and I poisoned his pancakes.

Had him under my spell for a harvest

but Miss Martha was a witch from way back.

She put a conjure on me wild

and white as a Mount Vernon winter,

blue veins and translucence

pimp-slapping me into dreamless sleep.

I woke up wound tight as the scrap

of cloth squeezing my braids.

Since then I’m on this box,

an heirloom mammy, memorabilia,

the taste you grew up with. No preservatives,

just near-sighted nostalgia to keep me unlined

and locked in disgraceful grin.

I’m an easy recipe,

helping hungry Americans handle their hotcakes

like the old man worked his wenches:

turn them when they begin to bubble

and the bottoms are golden brown.

Jabari Asim is the author of the forthcoming books Sing It Like A God and Stop and Frisk.

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Further Reading

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