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Say Hello to John

I swear I ain't done what Richard
told me bout jumpin round and stuff.
And he knew I wouldn't do nothin to make the baby
come, just joke, say I'mo cough

this child up one day.
So in the night when I felt the water tween
my legs, I thought it was pee and I laid
there wonderin if maybe I was in a dream.

Then it come to me that my water broke and I went
in to tell Ru-ise. You been havin pains?
she ask. I hear her fumblin for the light.
Naw, I say. Don't think so. The veins

stand out along her temples. What time
is it? Goin on toward four o'clock.
Nigga, I told you:
You ain't havin no babies, not

in the middle of the night.
Get yo ass back to bed.
That ain't nothin but pee.
And what
I know bout havin kids cept what she said?

Second time it happen, even she
got to admit this mo'n pee.
And the pain when it come, wa'n't bad
least no mo'n I eva expect to see

again, I remember the doctor smilin,
sayin, Shel, you got a son.
His bright black face above me
sayin, Say hello to John.

Written by Sherley Anne Williams (1944-1999)


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