My Brothers’ Friends: The Dozens


I never got “Yo moma jokes.”

I didn’t understand

I was supposed to snap back.

I just kept seeing my actual mother

Under attack.

And brother

How could you be friends

With another

who would say these things

About our mother?

I had no street in me,

Didn’t know I was supposed to snap back

Instead of snapping period.

None of it rolled off my back.

Sticks and stones stuck like glue

As he rained a litany of insults

Like a storm of matriarchal stabs.

I’ve long since laughed at comedians

Connecting with audiences

through this tradition

Of mother snapping jabs.

Still with no street in me

Except for what I have

collected to survive.

Yet in ways we rarely say

My brother’s friends also snapped

To stay alive.



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