For Girls Growing Into Their Hips

I grew into my hips when I was fourteen years old.
I learned from my mother, she used hers like
a staff on a boat to carry my father home…

This is for girls growing into their hips
This is for girls growing into their hips like our mamas did
like our mama's mama did
For girls learning how to sway
like lovers do
in jazz clubs
like seesaws
like winds do
For girls discovering the magic locked in our bone structure
that strikes even the godliest men
convicting them to seek forgiveness
on Sunday mornings for thought of engaging in secret sin
That same shake
that makes those same repenting men
love us and lust us
and sometimes,
not like us
This is for girls who love to shake
This is for girls who built their own throne
We are royalty
like Kingdom come
lek King kam na ya*
like sometimes the King
really is a Woman
This for the day that you realize that you are more than just
periods or
pleasure or
There will come a day when you embrace your sprouting hips
as if they were sprouting wings
There will come a day when you learn to wear your hips
like adolescent boys wear cheap cologne
There will come a day when you bottle the girl inside of you
and there will be days upon days when she will want to stay there
So this, is for girl growing into woman
For woman who on occasion shrinks back into girl
Walk heavy, or
thinned-hip proud
Own your beauty,
full, out loud
This is for girls growing into their hips—
that woke up one morning and thought
Hey, today I think I'm going to walk it like a woman today or somethin'.
Like the kind that can stand in her own hips, today…or somethin'.

*Translates to "Kings Come Here" in Krio.

Hannah Sawyerr is a 20-year-old national youth poet and a National Medalist in the NAACP Afro-Academic, Cultural, Technological and Scientific Olympics in the category of poetry. Her work has  been featured in several magazines such as Teen In, Sesi, Tribes, and RookieMag. Hannah is the 2016 Baltimore City Youth Poet Laureate and will be  publishing her first book of poetry through Penmanship Books in February 2017.