I Won’t Beg., by francine j. harris

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From Here Is the Sweet Hand, a poetry collection, which will be published this month by Farrar, Straus and Giroux.

I have before. I took off a skin. I put it
in paint. I tried to make it better with me
than doing it alone. I won’t fall off. The escape
is shaky. It looks out over boys driving
cars with toy black remotes. They are actually
men. They are men in the wide zoom of street.
Engine makes them hug. They trade the remotes
loud over bright green skins. I won’t panic.
The plastic so fat and wide, it can get in a lane.
It can do a 180. I won’t sick. It’s a lump
in the throat. When the dirt bikes head out in a rip
to twilight, they hop off. I won’t jump. As they tilt
a ruddy thing and hand it over to the next.
The chest is sore, right there. I won’t beg. The blast
of generators spits out dirty white light.
A white man on the train with enormous eyes put
his fingers in the shape of a gun and shot another
white man twice, in the face. Before he deboarded
he said fuck white supremacy, you’re all
gonna pay and I won’t body. I won’t block.
I am putting the tip of his finger to my forehead. I won’t
yank. When I open the door, I am the whole
brick wall. Its impossible angle. I am looking out
the window at night against the glare of light.
I can only see the men who ground in voices.

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