skinned & white knuckle
i still carry the mark of tumbling
ass over ankles
racing in knock-off Pumas
down the days of Jamaica Queens.
i hid a wound that glowed
ivory ice floe in a sea of caramel.
a black child, reflexively private,
valued for independence by nature
and necessity; don’t cry to mommy;
keep hurts alone;
carry everything singular;
don’t allow the fragility
of the baggage position.
pinpricks of perfectly stippled blood
on parchment grew yellow-green
with infection’s strange syrup.
i understood the gravity of stench
solving this algebra
with an ability to carry iodine
splashed over agony
which set the storm at sea aright
left me my secret ropey cicatrix.
stephanie roberts is a 2018 Pushcart Prize nominee. Her work is featured or forthcoming in Arcturus, Atlanta Review, Crannóg Magazine, Occulum, Burning House Press, and elsewhere. Born in Central America, she grew up in Brooklyn, NY, and explores reverence from a wee town just outside of Montréal. Twitter shenanigans @ringtales