Decency By Jalen A. Blithe


You’ve got too much on your mind tonight,
With no job, and no call-backs and no money
And one big heaping rent check to deliver by next weekend,
But that’s not what you’re thinking about. No.
You’re here thinking about how the boy looked all folding and fluid,
How his hair was slicked back, his eyes a deep resplendent red,
His tongue smelling like cornbread and apple brandy,
His teeth blades of ivory on your throat.

That was a while back, and the years have piled up like a matryoshka doll,
You’ve grown into your body, at first clumsily;
It didn’t know what needed to go where,
So you had hair on your stomach like a boy,
Like maybe you were a monster, Mr. Hyde in school uniform,
And then, all of a sudden, you were tall,
And everything fit into place, so tall that your skin couldn’t keep up
So where there was hair, there’s now long brown stretchmarks
The shape of Arctic crags, lumpy and thick and beautiful like a goddess.

You’re thinking about the music playing over your eyes,
Heavy bass and a wet voice box singing love songs in Patois,
How it pulsates somewhere deep in your ear,
Beyond the lobe, in a crevasse you couldn’t get to if you tried,
And you do try, twisting your finger like maybe you might dig out a space
Between the grass and the root, find a little jukebox and pull it from your existence,
And all the while your teeth rattle like porcelain bells,
Your chest drums to the rhythm of the dance hall,
Your twists get all monotonous like the beat.

By Jalen A. Blithe


I am a Bronx-native of Jamaican and Puerto Rican heritage who recently graduated with a bachelors in history and creative writing at Purchase college.

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