Stacey Lynn Brown

If you would or could not do/for yourself

If you would or could not do

for yourself, you hired a nanny

or wet nurse: cateyed Gaither

rolling in each day

to take up my bundled being

and soothe me in sustenance.


She raised me: balling my fists

to teach me to fight, shaming my hips

loose so I could shimmy, count cards,

ante up, winner takes all

dozen yo mama’s so uglies on home.


All my childhood’s most

important lessons, taught between

ducked out drags of Salems and Kools.

I answered only to her

name for me: Big-Legged Mama

in servitude to her, gratefully.