beautiful black queen

by Simone Savannah

Today on my walk to the gas station for a swisher and a bottle of water, a group of men call at me from across the street. I look at them and shake my head, and when I come out of the store, I know one of them will drive their big blue truck across the street to find and follow me, and yes they pull up on me: the man with the gold horse teeth stops cuts me off with the big blue truck and they say it’s okay, it’s okay, we not gone hurt you, do nuthin’ and their words echo, and a man in a neon green short sleeve shirt and matching shoes and a blue hat and square sunglasses and big round eyes gets out of the big blue truck and tells the driver with the horse teeth he can park, and he asks me my name and I tell him my name, my real name because I don’t want to appear afraid, and he says something about him working up at the school and he asks me if he can see me sometimes and I want to tell this nigga to get the fuck up out my face but I tell him I have a man so he gets the message, but he still asks for my number and I tell him I’ll take his instead and he asks the other man with the short hair waves and sweaty wrinkled brow to throw him his phone (he does not move his body, he keeps peering over his sunglasses with his big round eyes at me) and then he tells me something that begins with 601 and I save it as Del because he says that’s his name and he asks me for a hug and I tell him no, and he says that’s okay I’ll take one, I’ll take uh hug and I cringe when he stoops down and wraps his arms and bitter cologne around my body, and I see the two men in the truck watching and I want to know what they wonder about men and power or black men and power, about why their man wanted to touch me so badly—

after he uncloaks his body from my breasts and shoulders, he walks away and says sawry bu’ we saw uh beautiful black queen and I jus had tuh say hi, you’uh beautiful black woman he said, and the men in the truck smile with their chins hanging and ask me if I have any cuhzins.

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