African-American Proverb

I knew you were the one

when I asked you about your first love

and you said it was yourself.

Although you were taught that

Black men were only made to provide,

you decided that you deserved to love and be loved.

You said, one day, you’d teach your son

the things you had to learn on your own-

what it means to be a Black man in America

and how to love yourself even if this world don’t.

And I’ll admit,

I don’t know anything about being a Black man,

but I want you to teach me everything about loving one.

I wanna know how you carry the weight of the world on your shoulders

and still manage to stand up straight,

how this world ain’t made you cruel yet.

I see the way you stiffen up around police

like they don’t know your name

but they know you ain’t innocent.

I wanna know if your reaction is from personal experience.

But I don’t like to see you tense,

so tell me how to loosen you up,

how you like to be touched,

how you like to be fucked.

I want to see your soul.

I’ll show you mine if you show me yours.

I wanna hear you talk about anything.

Cause somehow,

everything you say sounds like an African proverb.

And now, when I ask you about your first love,

you say it was me-

that new love is only worth it if it’s greater than the last.

And I agree.

And suddenly,

I remember every past lover as if I had met them


But you feel like God, scientifically proven.

And, one day, I’ll teach our son what you taught me.

I’ll tell him that

I wasn’t woman until I met you,

I wasn’t poet until you entered me,

and he is our greatest collaboration.

And I know they say that

raising a Black boy in America

is harder than raising the dead


raising a Black boy in America

is raising the dead,

but this is not resurrection.

This is immortality.

This is the manifestation of everything good inside of you

multiplied by all this love inside of me.

And he will only ever be loved.

And if he ever asks you who your first love was,

I hope you say that it was him.

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