We Spin But Only One is Dizzy

Big brown eyes, flat nose, just like her mom
With no eyelid crease for her eyeshadow
Instead she’s soaked with the gawk of the white girls
Locker always sticks, number 729, right next to
The cool asian boy’s locker. Walking the halls
…Thinking if the walls inside died all their books would
Mingle, pictures collide and her singleness would end.
A reference from her jacket to his jacket to make him
more than a friend. Then again, maybe they already are?

Last summer they studied, read up on Gatsby and the
Persian War, all those dates and heat, all those not-dates
But the heat remained, two sets of new sweat glands pumping
It out under tank tops and nylon.
Then without a warning or consent, he …was on her, making heat and time
Dissipate, her breath stolen by some golem perched on her chest.
A heaving, a pulling, a fullness and the only thing he said was,
“Damn, Nigga,” which pulled her off into wondering if he was a racist
Or just wanting to sound cooler than he was. Just like she wanted for herself.
There’d been no moon, she’d looked, head just off the mattress,
Geometry pressing into her knee, his breath of Doritos and cola,
As it was his night to bring the snacks.

After, nothing changed. Russian Czars and biology were still there
And as dusk snuck in earlier and earlier and pencils and book bags
Went on sale, they never spoke of it. They shared most classes, but he
Sat with his white friends. Still not …the niggas he’s suggested, she thought
With a sense of pride. Their parents still sharing weekend meals and visiting
Elders, she and him sitting at long tables, talking of college choices
And math club, while she wished just once, they’d brush hands.

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2 thoughts on “We Spin But Only One is Dizzy

  1. OMG this is so powerful, full of angst that I could feel even though many, many years have passed since I was a teen. The racial tension adds to the complexity of your poem. Well done, K.Shawn.

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