The Taste of Flight
We called the ratchet chick
around the corner a bird
as if we ain’t wanna be free as her,
soar through our ghetto without watching
our feathers land on brown-green grass.
She knew how to make them fists fly,
slathered herself in Vaseline, an oil slick,
could knead a nose with her knuckles,
then get a girl to her knees in seconds.
And we watched. And we wondered how many times
we had to swing our arms, semi-circles in the air,
for our brown-skinned scapulas to part.
We wondered what it felt like up there.
If the wind brushed against her skin
like a hand or gushed like water,
if she ever got tired of the sky
like we got tired of the land.
Only a bird like her could be fly enough
to rock gold hoops and rock a man to sleep
with her warmth, shield him with her wings.
Make every man crane his body with want
as she flies by. We called her a bird like we ain’t
inhale the air she pierced to hold it
in our mouths, hoping the taste of flight
was just as freeing as the act. We called her a bird like
we ain’t wanna be the warm blood flowing through
a girl so capable of flying away from that place.
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