A Table.

As if you weren’t beautiful enough

You brought history into our home

And as I watch you hammer and nail

I think about the men before you

How they never wanted to build with me

But you build for me

With us in mind

And this table could very well be oak

And last until we are only known through pictures with wooden frames

And this table will be as strong as our family tree

It will spark a never ending

Forever changing story of how great great grandpa cut down this wood with his bare hands

The same hands that picked it up from the store

But that can be our secret

Like the extra late night snacks you’ll have on this table

And the mythical version of you will spread like fire

A monolith for a husband.

Can you imagine it?

Disconnected.

I categorize my habits

And rituals

Tone of voice and name

Second-hand characteristics that were given to me piecemeal

By a woman from Connecticut

And a woman from Georgia.

From a place we assume she called home.

But we say she must not be from there.

 

I can I live in this place

Be born in it

And not be allowed here.

 

But where I am now

In between two worlds.

The duality stretches me from left and right

Pulling at me

Makes me uncomfortable when I contemplate having to choose one

I don’t know Africa.

I have never been.

I was born here. I am not proud of it.

Who should be?

A Scary Time For Men

A Scary Time For Men.

 

I ask him a question, tepidly.

Because I know I will burn up when he answers.

I don’t want it to be like that.

“What do you mean…?”

He is like granite standing there

He used to be like clay

But now his suits and pocket squares define him.

And I am still here like an anchored balloon

Floating around in the same spot.

 

“I mean what I said, it is a scary time for men”.

I try to not let my words leap out and wrestle him.

I don’t want it to be like that.

I try to take the rage and fury out of my voice

And distinguish the flame he sparks in my entire body.

I’m running out of vision.

 

I am 14. Or 15.

I am a little girl.

“I am in a position of power”.

My body jumps as the car drives over an uneven street.

“She dresses inappropriately, what if she accuses me of something?”.

The man next to me smells like metal. He is old.

The street lights slither over him sometimes

But he’s just a dark shadow next to me.

“I’ve made complaints about her clothes and no one has said anything”.

It’s just me and the old man in the back seat.

He rubs my thighs and I sit quietly because I don’t want to get in trouble.

He rubs my breasts and I’m too scared to move.

“It’s just a scary time for men, that’s all i’m sayin”.

 

I raise my voice and now the whole house is quiet.

“You’re not listening, so I’m done talking”.

He closes the conversation.

Like a man closing his briefcase at the end of an unsatisfying business meeting.

I can’t stop yelling. Or being furious.

“It’s okay that we disagree sometimes”.

He says this calmly.

I can feel that man’s hands crawling over my body like a spider.

I see the lights over his stomach that hung over his pants.

His face hidden in the darkness of the car.

The roughness on my thighs. Hard labor old man hands on my little girl body.

 

I scream and yell and feel unhinged.

I want to hit something.

Kick and scream.

I want to cry

I still want him to take me serious.

I am a tornado of emotions.

I have not seen the old man in the car since.

I have ran away from that moment.

My lover’s fear put me back in that car.

Then his fear locked me in.

I wanted to hurt him for that,

For ignoring my pain.

This is a scary time for men.