Three Poems by Evelyn N. Alfred

Three Poems by Evelyn N. Alfred


– verb

1. to wish <I know you are new to this school, so if you would like to hang out sometime, that would be totally awesome.  My friends and I are going to the movies this weekend to see Sixteen Candles.  Would you like to come with us?  You can sit next to me and I’ll share my popcorn with you.>

2. be fond of <I like you.  I like sitting behind you in class so I can see you tuck your hair behind your ear.  I like you a lot. I like when you sprinkle in Portuguese words randomly when you talk.  I like you more than a friend.  I like that you always know the answer in math class when the teacher calls on you.  I like you more than I should.  I like your handwriting, the way your cursive p’s plunge below the line. I like like you.>

– interj. (informal)

3. often used with the verb ‘be’ to introduce a quotation or paraphrase <So I’m like, “He’s cute,” because I know that’s what they want to hear. Inside, nothing is moving for him.>


4. in the same way as <She makes me feel like water.  No.  She makes me feel like the water inside the pot. The flame is high; the bubbles pop.  It simmers when she’s away.  And it evaporates with him.>





– adj.

1.  constituting, or not deviating from a norm or rule  <It isn’t normal to transfer schools in the middle of the year.  Winter’s flurries were already the size of laundry flakes.  Everyone was too normal, and I wasn’t, Nzola said when I asked her about it.>

2.  conforming to a type, or regular pattern  < I pretended it was perfectly normal that Nzola’s locker was full of pictures of Grace Jones.  Normal is two or three pictures, perhaps four.  Nzola had so many her locker was no longer grey, but chocolaty.>





– adj.

1. difficult to analyze, understand,  or explain <Completing homework regularly is tough. Waking up early for school is rough.  My handwriting is terrible.  My teachers can sometimes be unbearable. Learning American history hurts my brain. Algebraic equations are really a pain.  But, Nzola sitting skirt-to-skirt with me at lunch, how it feels is complicated. It’s difficult to explain.>


1. consisting of parts intricately combined <Black. I’m Black.  It’s quicker to say. It’s a fact, but it doesn’t relax furrowed foreheads or erase question marked faces. Black doesn’t explain why I speak Portuguese with my parents. Black doesn’t explain my Bantu features, my last name. The parts of me are a complicated mix, but Joi sees me and not exotic.>


Evelyn N. Alfred is an educator, poet, and bibliophile based in Glen Burnie, Maryland. Her poetry, stories, and reviews have been featured in several publications including: the Lambda Book Report, ISFN Anthology #1, and forthcoming in Torch and Bop, Strut, Dance. She currently dreams about cupcakes and using semi-colons correctly.