f. berhan kebede
The Girls The Girls They Love - Poem by f. berhan kebede
I am in your corner until I am not.
The hopeless ones believing what smarter ones have told them in secrecy, repeated to others in their corner
the contoured ways of defining smart and how that relates to you
and when you think of
how much of your brain goes back taking the whole into account.
The aunts in waiting
The meals that are pieced together then thrown away from sight, and given as new.
The ugly people who treated you so kind
there is nothing like seeing you for the first time in a picture and then searching for you
And seeing the other pictures of you in other angles
In other hair styles
The way you speak of
holding your arms up together, to block, as part of your training
I feel my knees shaking from elbows piercing them
punching this in trying to make sense of
why you are perfect for me
how I can see that our lives could be everything I dreamed of
and most of what your parents care about;
The East African Woman as Gold.
Wait to hold you but never get the chance to grab you and show you how much of a man I can be to satisfy your idea of me as a man, each rounds end,
before I squeeze and press you up against the ropes
happy to be annoyed by your hair blocking my way around to your lips
pressing our skulls against one another with a light touch until I pull away just to come right back so that you feel the playfulness of speaking without words, points as clumsy forehead taps
waiting for something to pull us apart and continue on
while the judges wait
and the people stare
and the bell sits
mumbling secrets and things that you could not fully hear taking advantage of
So we bruise and heal and forget
just as someone turning the corner to see us the moment I lose
the fight inside the fight of being a man in front of all the other
all in my head but mostly anger in my hands
when you are thrown a compliment so simple it does not need the strength of translate
or given a line just as that
but without the curvy, shattered window pane of recall
the night you were not there to hear it break,
now making an effort in
turning over to
at the waves of sharp edged glass facing me, leaning out,
good morning! .txt
We hardly speak or pass feeling.
My words tend to carry a finality more so than the man before you, gasping and bloodied, punching them out.
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