tugging on their Levi’s
with public atrocities.
They stay awake
each summer night
boiling in mistakes;
clinging to opaque secrets
hanging in their windows.
of being one step
closer to no where;
from the hotel rooms fuming
showers of cold water,
and vile faces void of sentiment.
empty of support,
cover their faces in meetings that
assassinate their character.
Conferences held to question
whether they know
which man fathered their children.
I cling to them.
We remind ourselves
of Jesus’s return.
We tell ourselves
He will carry us,
up the dusty four floor walkup.
What will you do when you get out?
And I answer: take a bubble bath, while my son sleeps in a bed of his own.
"Privacy" has been published by PRONG & POSY Fall 2017
Don't cry. Don't scream. Don't get angry.
You’re wrinkling your shirt.
Have a nice day; don't miss the bus.
Have lunch, with salmon and rice and strength.
No yelling. No calling. Spend the night alone.
Don't talk too much. Give all you got; get nothing back
and forth through seasons and holidays.
I get it now.
Don't smirk. Don't breathe. Don't be sad, or happy.
Just exist. Don't tell anyone. Hold it in. Wait.
Don't be you. Fall in between statistical hysteria.
Eat until overstuffed. Watch TV. Go to bed. Raise children.
Don't feel or know anything. Get dressed.
Don't wrinkle your shirt.
Give them a kiss; accept their betrayal and lies,
‘cuz life lies in between realities.
Comb your hair. Wash the dishes. Buy groceries. Hate vegetables
and bastards from hotels. Don't cry. Don't scream. Love your mother
and father. Miss your sister. Feed your children, kiss their cheeks
and remind them of God and Africa.
Wear red lipstick.
Don't cry. Don't scream and remember;
Don’t wrinkle your shirt.
"Don't Wrinkle Your Shirt" is part of a lyrical essay titled: "Little Girls, What Has Ruined You"