Berry, the sweeter
I put my makeup on and make
my face in shades blending to shadow.
A man looked good because I’d not
seen him before.
Fuck yes I pulled
a woman’s belt loop just to get
closer. I was low enough to touch
somebody’s This is me.
the darker the juice, the warmer the slur
of spit, acid, bile, and gut.
Some fifty times I’ve read Milton—
the pandemonium of dogs
crazy in love with born again,
chewing their way back in that beast
of a woman. Maybe sixty times.
I didn’t read the guy in the club
who pushed up on me, see the crowd
circling around to watch him grab
my thigh and break my strap. Off rhythm.
A hand in every -ism. Such
exoticism in the dark.
what is fault
if not a deed, done did, amiss?
friend who took me home
and Yo, you know that guy was just
a racist troglodyte.
up troglodyte and teased my hair
so high it cleared the mirror, cracked
five teeth right out the wide-toothed comb.
I put my makeup on and broke
my face into a hundred pigments.
Some of the hues red as the part
of the mouth nobody ever sees.
“Berry, the Sweeter” first appeared in Crazyhorse, No. 91 (2017).