Maya Williams

The Words We Wear

My little brother tried the word
+++++“nigga”
on.

It’s a little baggy at first.
A garb thrown upon his tongue only to
fall limp,
but, eventually,
it suited him well.

My brother
plays his favorite rap song in his room.

Readjusts the pronunciation before
relaxing
in his ongoing
++++++reclamation
of an outfit.

My brother hangs out with his friends
and they think they wear the word better.

Especially when accessorized with the hard
++++++“er”
at the end
for a more
++++++vintage
look.

My brother
shrugs it off.

He doesn’t suggest something different
for them to try on.

He lets it
++++++hang
in the air.

Maya Williams is a poet residing in Portland, Maine. She is a black mixed-race woman of color using writing as a tool to explore her personal journey with racial identity and mental health. They have a Master’s in Social Work and a Certificate in Applied Arts and Social Justice. They have been published in GlitterMOB, Soft Cartel, The Occulum Journal, and Frost Meadow Review. You can follow her on Twitter and Instagram at @emmdubb16 and her website mayawilliamspoet.com

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