We kissed at the door. I held her close and
she returned the embrace. I wanted to
dither. I better not. She is my friend,
Mama Nell’s confidante. Maybe mine too
someday. She kisses me again, I kiss
her back. She says, You have lipstick on you.
I say, It’s OK, leave it. I go off
to The Saloon next door. There’s Young Jackson
working as fast as he can. I help him
with tourists who drink their lunch. When a lull
comes, he tells me a cop’s been watching him,
three, four days now. Take some time off, I say.
I need something to do to make money . . .
my own, I don’t add. It’s Adore at night,
The Saloon by day, I oughta be hard
at work on what Carlos wrote or what I
started before he walked off and was gone
forever. I tell Young Jackson to go,
I’ll find out why the cop’s hanging around.
Sure enough, he comes walking by and looks
me over and I beckon him inside.
He says, That nigger boy working with you?
For me, I reply, he’s my foster son,
there’s no need for you to worry our mind
but you really ought to have more respect,
you’re here to protect us not indict us,
and if I hear you say nigger again
I’ll have your job and sue your ass to boot.
He blanched, said he was sorry, it wouldn’t
happen again. I kept quiet. He left.
(16 August 2011)
copyright 2011 by Floyce Alexander