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  • Shamoria “Mori” Johnson


A poem about childhood in a life where you’re just trying to make it.

Gold teeth and gold-to-green chains that drip

more than the unshed tears in the eyes of the little girl that sits surrounded by her mama’s legs

getting popped by a skinny comb held between long nails with

Jewels and charms that drip

like glass marbles plopping into wooden holes from tiny brown hands on a rainy day

as their mama dodges the split splatter of hot grease that from the golden-brown pork chop

Pulled out with her bare, tired hands it drips

like chunky hoops as they stretch the little girl’s ears who snuck into her mama’s drawers

to look in the mirror and see something other than her light brown skin with a perm

To hide her nappy roots that drip

with the sorrows of a mama who’s sick and tired of being sick and tired

and from the skin of a daddy who's willing to do anything, anything, for his kids to make it

Is sweat and despair that drips

unlike her mama’s thick gloss that coated the little girl’s lips that often stays shut because

respectful, quiet, and smart were the traits she thought she’d needed to break

The curse of teen pregnancy and welfare that drips

through generation and generation of brown skin trapped in a home they built with bruised hands

yet can never call their own despite fixing every single

Leak in the depressed roof that drips

on the thin sheet over the little girl’s head as she held her daddy’s flashlight in one hand

and a chapter book full of characters who didn’t look like her in the slightest in the other

Here, alone, she let her tears drip

for her petite mama who’s muffled sobs intertwined with prayers for a better life

and for her fatigued daddy who came in late with a deep sigh and heavy limbs

and for her only slightly older, teenage sister whose small body was holding another being

and for her younger, taller brother with gold teeth and gold-to-green chains that drip.

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