Gris-Gris, an online journal of literature, culture & the arts


by Nancy Devine

They were other,
those black boys at my prairie high school,
midnight brought inside.

And they had been over there,
I swore,
and I could touch them,
the sugar of a new place
on my finger here
and then my tongue.

Whatever was missing
could be found through them.
I didn’t know
“you cannot drink from this”
or “you cannot vote for that”
rope or hood’s history,
service entrance.

I just wanted
lean-into-me a-little
as we go back and forth
in the music,
to and fro
like a metronome and between.

But, as I look from now to then,
I wonder
if I was enough
for them,
other-ness enough:
moonlight lassoed in,
stars safe to melt on the tongue.
Or was I just one more white woman
trying to get some help
in hand?