Flower, Girl by Sundai Johnson with Art by Candace Hunter
Candace Hunter (c) 2017
She was running, what seemed to be away from them. But they ran behind her like she was leading them somewhere. Water heaved in hard smacks. Lake and the sky trying to decide which blue hue belonged to whom. The sand was glitter that day; glitter that turned brown sugar under the bottoms of brown sugar kind of feet. Suga. Her grandmother only ever called her by her name. And her mom, the same. Sometimes honey. And that felt just as sweet. So she thought about how she was honey and wondered if honey melted in the sun. She hoped it didn’t, because she just wanted to be where the sun was.
* * *
There she lay. Panties balled in her fist— all that brown balled into a shape all crescent and moon. Suga. She watched him pull his pants from his toes to his hips. She licked his question from her lips and spit it out in the glass next to her bedside. “So you’re a tease?” Questions that are statements confuse her. Yeah Yeah. She’s a tease. Her body is jokin’. Her spine, throwing punch lines. “Why can’t we have sex?” That’s what he said. Him and him and him. Hmm. “But you’re naked”, they said. She knew them best by the way their backs said goodbye.
* * *
She wondered when the shore stopped. But she had to pee. Sharp left. See, See. Over there. There she goes running again. Except this time it’s to hide. Squatting with a metal fence to her right and road with a yellow sign scolding her backside. Go. Her body is apprehensive, naturally. Go. Here it comes. The stream sneaks in between flowered sneakers. How is it that the lake doesn’t drain out? It’s draining now.
* * *
She saw a new him through the sticks called brush, those back wings spreading already. Would he fly if he knew? Chickens can fly you know. She’d seen it with her eyes closed. Cluck cluck beaks, perched on her belly button.
* * *
She wonders if the dirt is eavesdropping. The whole earth is yelling at her and she’s telling it to hush because that blossom crowning her thighs and peering at her knees, belongs to her, and her only.
Posted on Chicago Literati