Poem: "When The Therapist Asks You To Recount, You Have To Say It" By Aricka Foreman

"...how you become / the kind of woman who learns when to shut up and take it."

We chewed June between gulps of cheap

sugared drinks, walked the gauntlet of OGs,

sneakers slick beneath hems of creased jeans

laid flat against their pulse as they watched

the parade of women, dresses stretched as skin,

hair laid and flipped honey, mosquitoes gnawing

on the sweet sweat pooling between breasts after

always, having been ground against by some stranger

wanting a number slid into their front pocket, hands

lingering along seams. Or, it happened, having pushed

the hands of each og away from my ass demanding

a space to twerk against the damp fog rising above

the dance floor, feeling the DJs down tempo, commanding

more wind girl more yeah girl. And it happened, feeling

a rogue breeze dry beads across the nape, a grip on my arm

wants to know if I’d had children, my body made ample

for feeding, licked his lips while his eyes traced

the circumference of curves lying beneath my low cut,

who I pulled away from with no further words who yelled

across the deck beyond the crowd nappy-headed bitch

beyond snickers pointed fingers shook heads. It starts this way.

Makes you travel in a pack at night. Keep your coat on.

Sometimes it's the same face outside the locker room,

on the tv screen. His broad against me against the hardwood

banister, titties and tight pussy crawling up my skin.

It happened while I thought about grace, how a lady

handles her body. How a flipped finger or fist could invite

snatch-back while walking to the bathroom alone, walking

to the car alone it happens, having no business putting yourself

anywhere in the world they say is how you become

the kind of woman who learns when to shut up and take it.

Aricka Foreman’s work has appeared in The Drunken Boat, Minnesota Review, RHINO, Day One, Phantom, shuf Poetry, James Franco Review, thrush, Vinyl, PLUCK!, Please Excuse This Poem: 100 New Poems for the Next Generation by Viking Penguin, among others. She is the author of Dream With A Glass Chamber from YesYes Books and the Art co-editor at The Offing. Originally from Detroit, she currently lives in Chicago.

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