Sade Collier

Anique Store

Walking through the peach-logoed antique store
my forehead frightens itself into a sticky funk.
The word “dixie” hangs above my Black body 
like a halo, the irony thick on my tongue 
in the language of white I have learned since 
childhood. The fall air waltzing through the store
shrinks me into a disillusioned crescent of an angel.
We are here on my birthday, my boyfriend and I, 
his blue-eyed curiosity leading us through the
clustering aisles, packed still with dusted relics 
of every peach-growing experience my mother
and grandmother could not afford. My throat swells
each time we pass a mammy figurine or a caricatured
Asian doll, stiff on the shelves I now have the privilege
to run the fat of my finger against. I choose to 
swallow my body, uncolor the fruit and pit of me inch by inch
until I am nearly pale enough for a eulogy. 
We joke about my only interest in the store being 
the lavender-scented soap crafted au naturale by white women
and the pastel-colored jewels reflective in the brown-black 
deep of my eyes, and I laugh even harder
at the joke beneath my tongue:
every item palatable for me will be washed away
with time; only what is white 
is ever in the condition to be 
permanent. He doesn’t see 
the cloud draped over the history of me while looking 
at the scuffs on military-grade combat boots, 
and I don’t know how to speak of it. He walks in the way
of unknowing, of unwitnessing the shadow I am 
in the store― 
in the vintage mirror, my eyes shoot themselves 
into the back of a shelf. He fits in so well, 
under the civil-war aged chandeliers, the dot 
to my question mark of a body squeezing through
every aisle. The wicked part of me
homes a swarm of flies in my gut and imagines them splitting
the body in two
until my blood stains the floor and the crimson color ruining 
the decor lets them know 
I was here. How to explain to him the feeling 
of being swallowed by every room I walk into, 
the feeling of drowning, of being a susceptible mess
to every space afraid of color. How to explain to him
what he will never understand. 

SADE COLLIER is a first-year student pursuing a double major in Journalism and Politics at New York University. Their work has been published in Prometheus Dreaming, The Closed Eye Open, and is upcoming in The Closed Eye Open and Beyond Words Literary Magazine. You can keep up with them on Instagram (@lol.sade) and keep an eye out for their upcoming chapbook.