David spends the day admiring the girls’ legs
His are myths
capped by a thick heeled shoe
from the bootery on the downtown corner: a deep hip dip on the right shoulder splitting air
on the left
cadenced walk choreographed
to a mighty boom box he fists
on the right, dropping that hip even closer
to the ground than on any Sunday in any month
other than July. David’s pimpi-n—n-n’ girls scream
to tag him “it.” He seesaws a dance
to the fence
for their cackling applause. His don’t embarrass
en route to coquettes
in training who imitate the spattered words
he cannot make come in more than hisses, stops,
starts, and scratchy remixes
repeating more words than make sense
with new ones.
their side of the fence;
girls behind it in their yard bullying him
with questions: Why you ride that blue bus?
How old are you really? C’I borrow that tape?
You ‘on’t think I’m gon’ give it back?
David barters answers in exchange for
friendship: plastic reproductions
he indulges in: bare legs and discounted
bullying; tricky treats that will break before
before his next compliment:
Y’all sure got some pretty legs shatters as each set: brown numchuks
decorated in lace socks rail to the hidden part of the fenced yard.
His hobble beyond the trees. He tries to see
where they go.
His haunt the neighborhood;
find the park.
David drinks screwdriver until the cassette winds
out of control or cricket songs replace the scratches
David slouches on the bench, shorter leg
propped on the boom box.
Baby Sister (just says no)
red ligh-t-t-t-t-t-t-t-t GREEN! runs toward the open palms on the corner/
balances the weight on the ball of her right foot/hands at a ready to catch
ground/staccato slap of canvas keds/street races kick up asphalt giblets/
catch wind where there was none/rimshot of rope keeps time against strands
of grass left from the daily trample between mounds of cracked mud/a yellow
bike ticks a dimuendo loop around the girls/leggy in linty terry, fuzzy plaits,
slobber of now and laters sucked hard to unchoke her answer:
there are sheer papers she recognizes/secreted beside The Two sulking behind the
dumpster/stacked like last day of school papers collected from her desk/memories of metal comb
sizzling against the curls heavy/turning them slick as the leather of her church shoes/sheer papers
that crackle around the foam rollers and tame the slick into class-picture-Easter-morning swirls
half-expects-hopes sheer papers will take flight/like birds she will chase down the hill
of the parking lot/back up the hill of the lot/down the hill/cure the curiosity that taunts The
One/fresh from Juvy/in 54’11s toe to toe/thighs clenched in an acid wash sawhorse/catlike eyes
squinted in concentration/tick tick tick a tempo titillates an invitation
timpanis roll behind quick fades: Leon’s perpetual wide eyed daze-Different Strokes– Nancy
Reagan-a sea of green tee shirts in fresh plaits & Jordache
and you went over there?
you try it?
baby sister drops the bike at her ankles/marches to/crumples on the stoop/ trembling hands cup
her face/are cupped by less tiny brown ones/ another set less tiny than the last
…you ain’ know and she shouldna…
picking for cherries in bowls of fruit cocktail they chatter down the day/slurp the last of it/with
the thick syrup that remains.
[author_info]darlene anita scott’s poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in anthologies Homegirls Make Some Noise, Growing Up Girl, and Role Call and journals including diode, Torch, Tidal Basin Review, Warpland, Bloodroot, ITCH and California Quarterly. Recipient of grants from the Virginia Commission for the Arts and the Delaware Division of the Arts, scott has been a fellow at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, the Hurston Wright Foundation, the Callaloo Creative Writing Workshop, and the Julia and David White Artists’ Colony in Costa Rica scott is currently working on a collection of poems imagining Jonestown Guyana, a spiritual community whose residents were coerced into suicide by their leader.[/author_info]