Haley. 3

She sat on the wooden bench

Her rain boots dangling

Water dripping

She looked at me for an explanation

So much grief

devastation in a pink rain coat

“Do you want to play with me, Haley?”

I felt smaller than her

Patronizing and empty

I hope she didn’t feel that too

“No” she said.

Her eyes pooled and I drowned

Looking at her for a feeling I could discuss

We are both gasping for air.

Her mom comes

Looking better than I expected

But I’ve never been on a first name basis with it

The closest I’ve been is pink ribbons and commercials

I ask her how she’s feeling

Afraid to pry

Afraid to seem careless

They walk out of the classroom

And I stay on the bench with that little girl

Longer than I mean to.

M.G.B

Your lips

Look like something I could float on

And when u laugh

That dimple winks at me

As if it knows I’m waiting for it

And if I’m close enough

I can hear your heartbeat

A rhythmic melody

A Smooth and consistent lullaby.

And your hands

Textured and thoughtful

Creeping up my thigh

Just enough to get warm.

I let them stay there long enough

And then I push them to their destination.

So you can explore me in detail

And turn me into a poem.

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?