Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Long Before That, I Knew Her When

Long before that, I knew her when
Knew her smile as though my own reflection
Can even now resurrect the adolescent inflections
Of the voice that haunts my resting.

Knew her before now
Back when her hips were wide with promise
And curves led boys to chase manly dreams
After her.

Knew her when first she got braids
Twisted them like knots in school boy bellies
When she winked her rare green eyes
In no specific direction.
She knew her glances left grown men
With erections she could use
to her benefit.

Knew her before her father found proof
Of her indiscretions, so when her footsteps
Came in my direction to ask for shelter
I with no hesitation took her in.

Did not know her womb would fill three times
With clinic rid, unborn children.
Did not know her full lips would occupy
Both seduction and addiction.

Just knew that she was beautiful and earthy
Thick as red clay pots drying on rocks
Soaking up heat without knowing
Sun sealed shapes can't know further molding.

Knew her before the system did
Knew her after her pastor did
But failed to realize what lay hid
Behind those long, fake eyelashes.

Long before that, I knew her when
She and I were young children.
Before she was too far gone
As I was too far away
To wrap my arms around her shrinking frame.

Before I could convince her
That her value was in more than hips and contorted legs.
Was worth more than boots and packs
More than riddled tracks upon battered, sunken skin.
Before I could empower her with truth and fact
She fell back

Long, long before that,

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