when I dropped my 12-year-old off at her first homecoming dance, I tried not to look her newly-developed breasts, all surprise and alert in their uncertainty. I tried not to imagine her mashed between a young man's curiousness and the gym's sweaty wall. I tried not picture her grinding off beat/on time to the rhythm of a dark manchild; the one who whispered “you are the most beautiful girl in brooklyn” his swag so sincere, she'd easily mistaken him for a god.
Copyright © 2019 by Mahogany L. Browne. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on February 7, 2019, by the Academy of American Poets.