Monday June 15, 2020
alternate names for black boys
Take a seat and observe how the room twirls and smokes, scoffs and languishes. You are the eye of the storm in your silence and watching.
It’s been so long since you’ve been in a group, since you’ve been at a party, that you don’t remember where to find words or place laughter. You bite your tongue a hundred times before you slice with a something small and the man in the rimmed glasses cocks his head and looks at your breasts.
You wonder how many people here are pretending, how many people are holding in a fart or a pee, how many people really wish they were someplace else, swimming in a cool lake, touching the papery skin of their mother’s forearm.
It used to take you hours to get ready for something like this, standing in front of the mirror, a bottle of tequila on the bathroom counter, swigging and painting your face for battle. Today it took you exactly six minutes to brush your hair and put Vaseline on your unruly eyebrows and chapped lips.
You arrive late, as usual. Toss your jean jacket on the back of a chair, on top of other jean jackets and cardigans. You smile without showing your teeth. You forgot to brush them. You wonder about your breath, and if you’ll even get close enough to anyone to smell their toothpaste, their IPA, their roast chicken dinner.