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Terri Linton – Boogie Down Girls

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Terri Linton

Boogie Down Girls

 

I.

Mister Softee croons his hood melody.
We clamor and crowd, chests to backs
filling our sweltering Bronx street.
Sprinkles drip their
rainbow sweetness
from vanilla-wafered cones.
Ready,
set,
they race down
our bleached
tanks and tees.

Tidal wave hydrants drown
our un-sunblocked
blackened skin.
Clear drops
mask yesterday’s tear drops,
take flight
in search of our crowns.
They baptize every coil
every wave
every cornrow
every braid.
We are adorned and adored.

It’s our time.
Summer time.
A Boogie Down
special occasion.

Cars ride by with booming systems,
and bangin’ chicks
posted in front seats
like pedestaled Nefertitis.
Cocoa-buttered arms
dangle from Benz windows
gleaming
like the gold hangin’ from their ladylike lobes.
They’re the fly Misses
we wanna be.
Sittin’ pretty, all high siddity.
They’re the girls dudes adore.
The girls who
put the hot in summer.
The girls who
lend rays to the sun.

II.

Mamas, grandmamas & aunties
lean on sills
NYCHA
Section 8,
in our case,
Mitchell Lama
owned.
They monitor not just their own,
but everybody’s own.
These days,
we remember those days
as the days
when a whole village raised a child.

Be upstairs before the street lights come on.

So we hasten the rhythm of our
hopscotch and double dutch jumpin’ feet,
slippin’ & slidin’
in macaroon-colored Jellies.
Cotton candy streamers
float from metal handlebars
handled like a pro
by a lil’ shero Kamikaze.
Our wowed eyes trail her as she
rides
rides
rides.
Unbridled
into the invisibility of the wind.

III.

Under night’s darkness,
we lay down our spent bodies,
and give thanks to the moon
for the day.
Not just for this day,
but summer’s every day.
When joy finds us,
tucks away sweet dimples and soft giggles.
And decides to stay a while.

 


Terri Linton holds BA and MFA degrees from Sarah Lawrence College; and a JD from Rutgers Law School. She’s an adjunct professor of English at Pace University and Criminal Justice at Sacred Heart University. She also teaches for The Writing Institute at Sarah Lawrence College. Her writing has appeared in the anthology Solo Mom Stories of Grit, Heart, and Humor; Catapult Magazine; and other sites. Terri’s a 2021 Money for Women/Barbara Deming Memorial Fund grantee.

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