By Kynala Phillips

i woke up to the taste of wings, fried & drenched in lemon pepper & a sauce that could mask the thought of yesterday’s yearnings—a reminder of the early 2000s & summers where my brothers & i would drive over a hundred miles south to the land of Harold’s & Remus just for a six-piece. the car often on its last leg, its engine revving on a fraction of oil. only gas in the car pearled in anticipation of this long-awaited meal, a classic escape, getting past state lines on a wish & will alone & will is something serious when there is mild sauce involved & since will made these Wisconsin kids lug ma dukes hoopty past unpaid tolls for the taste of a city their parents fell in love in yet still ran from, then they would soon learn that will would always be enough to shrink miles into meer moments, that if a meddlesome memory of a chicken combo so perfectly sweet & subtle could turn Mookamook, Manman & me into miscreants of time & space, then why couldn’t we have anything else our hearts desired. i’ve always been spoiled by this thought: if i could bend daydreams into submission just to lock eyes with the face of fortunes yet to flourish—but knew would bear fruit—then i could have anything else i put my mind to. i learned that summer that my deepest yearnings, the ones that lunge hearts into fire, happen on axis, orbiting in due time. whether it was chasing dreams or chicken wings, my calling was & has always been to simply believe & unbeknownst to me, i had long tested this theory, like the time i begged for cake during my tia’s twenty-fourth birthday until the sun rose the next day & when my ma passed me the strawberry filled ice cream cake to try, i spit it out & she smacked the back of my neck with an ancestral rage determined to remind me of what it meant to be so lucky & i’ve always felt that whether it be luck or happenstance, getting what you want is never as much about receiving but more about what you do once you get it or more importantly what it does to you.

Kynala Phillips is a writer and Black girl enthusiast based in Kansas City, Missouri. Born and raised in Madison, Wisconsin, Phillips studied at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and is a proud member of the 9th cohort of the First Wave Hip-Hop and Urban Arts scholarship program.