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.