Two Poems (2012)

by darlene anita scott

Algebra

He raises his hand to solve for x
but is not selected.

He rewrites his homework
after working out the equations
to make it all look neat.

He makes the bubbles of his 5s perfectly round
like a globe.

He is a boy without a Father.

He can point out Russia on the map
and seems to have photographed
Georgetown in his memory.
He’s only been once.

His eyes are steely;
his teeth almost refuse to stay in the confines of his mouth.
And he used to love eggs.

When the solution for x doesn’t give his equation the balance
he needs tonight, he will wet the bed.

He will learn fear soon enough
but for now he tries hard to be
a worthy son. Which is never in the lessons.

He raises his hand again and when he’s selected
he feels pressure in his groin; the pressure that
escapes his nights.

He is a boy without a Father.

 

How Today Will Look When It’s History

14 September 1977

Two days ago I turned 28.
And Steven Biko died in South Africa.

I am 28 years old, wearing two plaits on either side of my head,
a kerchief, and denim clam diggers.

I work in the medical building
and one day, I’m going to get a medical degree.
Inhaling the sterile, new plastic smell of Johnson’s band-aids,
scratching my inner ear with Q-tips, and making crafts
with tongue depressors are the best ways
to pass another rain storm.

I could use a good manicure.
My dad would say I need one
and a hair cut too. That’s so bourgeois
is what I would tell him.
But I agree.

My ankle itches.

Today I had rice.
There’s usually rice.
And I had gravy.

Since being here I have fallen in love.
Twice.
Damon – back in Redwood full of his plans, my careless privilege –
would not believe me.

In the house, we shared too much he said.
Too much to ever give an honest damn about anyone –
only everyone.

I have no reason for lying and have never found
any reasons yet. Maybe one day I will.

I have two sisters, a brother, and
none of them look like me.
Sometimes I wish they did.
Or I, like them.

(These two poems originally appeared in ITCH e. 10, May 2012, and are reprinted with permission.)

(Poet darlene anita scott is a regular contributor to the jonestown report. Her complete collection of writings and poetry for this site may be found here. She can be reached at darleneanitascott@gmail.com.)

Last modified on November 10th, 2015.
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