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Mama Said ...

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                             (there’ll be days like this.)
                                                — The Shirelles

These folks ’bout to respect me into the grave.

At eighty Mama said, (mama said)
           “People think you change when you’re old
             but you still got a girl inside.”

And men could see her, too
         — that pink silk dress —
soothe that hotel bellboy
         “Boy, I’m old enough
          to be your mama.”
He coy
          “well, you ain’t.”

But seventy is prime time
for me to own what “elder” brings.

I reap myself with the respect they sow.

They don’t know I got the road
wide open in me.

Source: Poetry (April 2013)

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This poem originally appeared in the April 2013 issue of Poetry magazine

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Mama Said ...

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