Best Believe This is Free
by London Pinkney
Best believe I’m only alive in places
where women-and-the-gurls laugh freely.
Their joy in the Key of Safety
signals that this
is one of the few places we are free.
I’m talkin’ free-free.
We live in a stilt house
lined with oleander.
On Sundays we make tea from its blossoms —
pink petals strained through sweaty stockings —
for the Black Brunch Brigade, the Niggarati,
for folks who got us feelin’
some kinda way, folks who
use the word niggardly or female,
and that nigga,
is one of the few places
I do not have to carry myself
in a brown paper bag,
rolled up, crunched up,
and tucked behind crossed arms. Here
on our freshly sanded stoop,
I open my bag and
I share my pralined self.
Would you like one, I say
knowing full well the gurls’
ears, hearts, and mouths are fixed
to enjoy me
and my company.
I tell them
I want to arrest all the trees
in the South for conspiracy
and they hmm-hmm.
There’s no need to make sense— we are
the sense and the dollar and the moment.
We be bad bitches. We be being.
We converse with the same intent
folks have when they skip stones:
for the satisfaction of the ripple
and quality time
to shit on that nigga,