Black mole on her brown cheek he loved to touch . . .
she feared she was not pretty, could not love
this white boy and be loved too. He said I’m
not pure white–who is?–I have a dark vein
running deep, from a man and his white wife
who birthed their only son, then one half-breed
daughter followed by another, sisters
who married brothers. A son Tom was born
to sister Doll, a daughter Drusilla
to Pearl who died bearing her stillborn son.
Pearl made him the off-white Southern farmboy
who loved the girl with her ancestral seed
come north from Mexico. He loved all her
willowy body with her lissome limbs
inviting his body, her back against
the door of his car he was driving east
from Yakima. She’d gone with him to meet
influential people impressed with work
that was his, "so young with such skill to write
what he knew," nothing more than how to play
the game, versatility rare for boys
with humble pedigrees. They acclaimed him.
Jersey soaked with sweat through the heavy pads,
bones aching in the body charging through
the line, sailing over those grunting hard
each time they clashed, and sweeping around end
to trap the ball and struggle to wrest it
from the body's arms that fell under his
one hundred sixty pounds at age sixteen . . .
One day he thought he might try a novel,
something to be called White Boy Linebacker.
After obligatory courtesies
and his effort to show her what he had
to offer her in the way of life here,
they kissed in an empty bedroom. She said
they should go. He begged his way through the crowd.
They let him leave with her. Her bare brown legs
flashed red on toe and finger nails, thinking
buenas noches except she said good night.
They reached the fields of the orchard country.
He lived close to the Horse Heavens, she near
the Rattlesnakes–valley these hills sheltered.
Out there were stray stars plummeting. They loved
for the first time. She must go in the house
to kill his sperm inside between her thighs.
That way they might plan a life they could live
among choices their parents never sought.
She lingered to touch his lips and feel him
exploring her body now in her clothes.
She must go. So much they would never know.
(6-7 November 2012)
copyright 2012 by Floyce Alexander