Poems and Texts

“Momma Said” by Candace Williams

Momma Said

Momma said wake up.
Momma said it’s time to get ready.
Momma said you’ll be late.
Momma said your clothes are in the dryer.
Momma said get up.
Momma said get ready.
Momma said put your clothes on.
Momma said put your clothes on right now.
Momma said NOW.
Momma said your hair is a mess.
Momma said you should wear a headscarf to bed.
Momma said bring her a comb and some grease.
Momma said you need a new relaxer.
Momma said wash the sleep out your eyes.
Momma said take the chicken out the freezer.
Momma said don’t forget again.
Momma said don’t forget lunch.
Momma said don’t forget your gym shorts.
Momma said don’t forget she’ll be home late.
Momma said don’t forget your keys.
Momma said don’t forget your coat.
Momma said she doesn’t work this hard for you
to be cold.
Momma said don’t forget yourself.
Momma said you forgot the chicken last week
and if she has to go to Popeye’s again, you aren’t getting any.
Momma said wait until the car warms up.
Momma said find good music.
Momma said she’ll never understand people who listen to prank calls on the way to work.
Momma said she’ll take Patti LaBelle over Babyface any day of the week.
Momma said you look exhausted.
Momma said your math teacher humiliates you on purpose.
Momma said keep your head down and your pencil up.
Momma said we work twice as hard.
Momma said she works late to save for private school.
Momma said you’ll get in.
Momma said you’ll get in.
Momma said you can’t walk into school crying.
Momma said take a deep breath.
Momma said blow your nose.
Momma said there are tissues in the glove compartment.
Momma said you can’t be everything at everything.
Momma said you’ll be there in two minutes.
Momma said summer is almost here.
Momma said you’ll sleep in.
Momma said you should splash water on your face before you go to class.
Momma said we’re here.

This poem originally appeared in Redivider Journal Issue 14.1 (Fall 2016)

Candace Williams

Candace Williams is a black queer nerd living a double life. By day, she’s a sixth grade humanities educator and robotics coach. By night and subway ride, she’s a poet. futureblack, her first full-length manuscript, is a finalist of the 2018 National Poetry Series open competition. In 2018, she released Spells for Black Wizards (The Atlas Review), a winner of the 2017 TAR Chapbook Series. Her work has appeared in the PEN Poetry Series, Tin House Online, Hyperallergic, and Nepantla: An Anthology for Queer Poets of Color (Nightboat Books), among other places. She earned her master’s in education from Stanford University and has received support from Cave Canem, Brooklyn Poets, and the Fine Arts Work Center. Her essays, interviews, and reviews can be found in Electric Literature, VIDA Review, the Fanzine, and Shondaland.

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