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Typical day that a black girl sees/ coming home wanting more than a college degree

—Nas, "Black Girl Lost"

crushed zirconium gloss & glory glides across her lips. she looks in the mirror, puckers, pops her gum, knows what would happen if mama saw her                      switch                                          girl bounce bounce song scripts pinned into rivets of denim pressed into thighs rockin two-pocket shorts cause she can                     switch                                          girl purveyors of pulp nonfiction sit on regals wit chrome rims mockin constellations and damn her pelvic metronome                     switch                                         girl a poet sketches what he imagines as her fantasies pastes her into fables of blow jobs for hang bags haphazardly stitches her walk into crack alleys half-tapes her barely breathing body with bruises                      switch                                         girl women sit facing the microphone their pupils spin full circles the girl is each one of them when she tapes the periodic table of elements [End Page 761] next to cut-outs from right on! she wanted to be a nurse or just get an a in chemistry quietly while looking like doing something she ain't.                      Girl,                                         switch.

Tara Betts

Tara Betts has published in numerous periodicals and anthologies, including Essence, Obsidian, Gathering Ground, Role Call, The Spoken Word Revolution, and Home Girls Make Some Noise: Hip Hop Feminism and Black Writing from Chicago. She is a candidate for the MFA at New England College.

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