All the weapons in my Afro
I’m at the airport and I’ve been chosen
for the infamous Afro search,
the great despotic pat-pat up and through and over me;
I hope they don’t find my spell book,
I hope my gris-gris doesn’t fall to the floor and spill.
I hope they don’t find the maps or the photographs,
the recipes or the cane sugar,
deshelled peas or the rigid parts of the collard greens.
I’m holding my breath hoping the TSA agent won’t find the airbrushed
rest in heaven t-shirt or the bones or the bullets;
not literal bullets, more like wooden beads and song lyrics,
aluminum foil and hot grits.
I hope the vinegar won’t spill;
I worry that the whiskey might reveal itself or that the agent will recognize
the smell of fabuloso,
but I doubt it.
Happy for real
When’s the last time you were real happy,
laughing loud in public happy
running around outside barefoot and nappy happy
like watermelon that you can’t eat inside happy
Quit running in and out! Stay in the yard! happy?
When’s the last time you were fish fry happy
Jig-a-low jig jig a low happy
last night of vacation bible school happy
snowball with the ice cream happy
toe touches on a trampoline happy
I’m cooking red beans and rice today happy
Please ma, can I stay? happy
a pickle from the penny lady happy
a brown paper bag full of candy happy
beads with the foil at the ends happy
My cousins be my best friends happy
riding bikes in the sun happy
passing notes just for fun happy
when’s the last time you were done getting yo’ hair combed happy
downloaded a new ringtone happy?
Ain’t even know how good we had it,
Cheyenne Marcelus is a Black American poet and writer from Columbia, Mississippi. She is the author of Good to Me: A Poetic Journey to Self-Acceptance and Self-Preservation. Her work is featured or forthcoming in Eve Poetry and Spillwords. She is a former Southern Regional Winner and State Finalist of the Mississippi Poetry-Out-Loud Contest. She resides in Ottawa, Ontario with her husband and son.