1 poem

by Nicole tooley

Community High School


Mahogany, Take What You Will.

Mahogany, take what you will.
Whittle by ribs.
But you’ll never take like teak.
Burmese teak, like the kitchen table for four when we only have two
that takes and takes and takes.

But you’ll never break like birch
like the layers of your epidermis
peel you back and peel you open
until you break and break.
And break like the birch and
take like the teak,

Mahogany, take what you will,
But you’ll never weep like willows.
Willow like a curtain of your hair
you hide behind because
you are not allowed here.

So you weep like willow
break like birch
take like teak.

My mother, Mahogany, take what you will.
But in the end, after you’ve grown,
placed roots,
lived every season through and then some.

I’ll bury your ashes, and, Mahogany, then you’ll know
all this time
you were trying harder than teak,
breaking a little like birch,
but mostly watching me grow taller than the willows.


"Mahogany, Take What You Will." was a runner up for the 2018 Stephen Bonga Award for High School Students (Poetry)

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Nicole Tooley

Nicole Tooley is currently a senior at Community High School in Ann Arbor, Michigan. She grew a love for writing in her English classes at school. When she is not writing a short poem or reading a good memoir, you can probably find her dancing.