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Sly Smile

by Gethsemane Herron

Part I

Let us talk about the willing blindness.
There are children
Eating where pigs shit,
Shitting so pigs may eat/

“The gaze fixed straight is for their privacy!”
You! Black girl
W/ (Blue Passport, Gold Eagle.)

Do not forget that your people too
dark; fringe worthy.
That you got aunties steeping
in lightness cream,
like a vegan milk to a dense chai.

It is the darkest children
Wedging hands through your elbow—
“Don’t give them money; it goes to the mob!”
Yes, dark criminalizes here,

Part II

Girl—wild smile—
Her screaming dog
Following her finger as if its bone
He’ll chew later.

Kisses your ankles, teeth bared

a second girl
Sly smile—halts dog
Opens her hand for payment.

(Did you know Michelle Alexander opines that violent crime frequents black communities
Due to unemployment? And sly smile has no shoes and dogs have no meat
Save fat foreigners?)

Run, blue passport!
Run like you Black!
Run back to the country
Where you are no citizen!
Where you are dog
Ribs poking through,
Guarding a smile.

Gethsemane-Herron_author-photoGethsemane Herron is a poet, playwright and scholar based in Washington, D.C. She is a recipient of a McNair Scholars Fellowship and a recipient of the First Wave Hip Hop and Urban Arts scholarship to the University of Wisconsin-Madison. In 2013, she moved to Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, India to explore how Indian and Black women perform gender. She is completing a Dean’s Fellowship in Theatre and Performance Studies at the University of Maryland-College Park.

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