“Hometown Senatobia”

Normandy 7th & 8th Grade Center
St. Louis County, Missouri

I am from Mississippi, hometown Senatobia, in Tate County,
the smell of Febreze fresh and clean,
lots of land and sycamore trees,
Fred's, where we buy chips for a dollar, tissues, things like that,
Kay's, where we buy chicken and other groceries.

I am from the bouquet of roses
from a Christmas or Thanksgiving dinner,
when we go to either my aunt's house, or granny's house, or uncle's house.
We eat fried chicken and macaroni,
open presents and get money.

Senatobia, where there are talkative, friendly,
            smart people around me, like my cousin Takiya.
We play Mario Kart, talk, be on the phone, take pictures,
            spend a couple of nights. 
And also Malia, my second cousin who’s funny, pretty, smart like our family,
stays focused on school, wears her hair flat-ironed and long.
We play, eat pink eggs, go outside, record each other,
I show her my cheers, she loves it.

I'm from talking country with Takiya and Malia and
            all of the people who like to play games and have fun.
In Senatobia, we say guh not girl, yaw not y'all
and we say check, not jonin'.
I'm from people who tell me
I'm a fast runner and good at cheerleading.

I'm from Baptist DeSoto Hospital where my
mother gave birth to me
            and was scared at the same time,
because it was September 11, a year after all those people died.

Now I live in St. Louis, birds here I never heard in Mississippi,
where I only go on holidays and to visit.
Trains and buses here that take you all around
and people talk different.

I’m from hot wings and Wendy's––hot wings are the best.
I'm from the smart things my family says,
and the conversations we have about my anger.