Faster Than a Mint Julep

Thank god no one has ever called me pretty,

I am too fast and furious for trivial things.

The first six months of my life I slept in a baby carriage,

rolling through the shifts from room to room

I watched the ceilings as I lay on my back.

Today I never wear hats; they flatten my curly brown hair,

unlike cool slim blondes, who make the art of

wearing hats look pretty and important.

Thank god no one has ever called me pretty,

I am too smart, and I don’t know how to spout nothing.

In kindergarten I was told I had “nigger lips”

I went home and asked Mom what that meant.

She replied they’re just jealous of your “full lips”,

I never learned how to smile with only my lips like

thin-lipped blondes who laugh with their mouths closed,

easily turn people’s heads with a “that’s incredible”, or “aren’t you sweet”.

Thank god no one has ever called me pretty,

I am too pushy and unrefined to handle such sweet sugariness.

I had my first period and a near death experience before I was 11,

back from death enraged to be here, I began my love affair

with chocolate, every afternoon I had a date with Oreos,

my plump ass and I never dated many boys in high school

unlike the blonds whose matching sweater sets

rubbed my thighs wrong, made me sweat with shame.

Thank god no one has ever called me pretty,

I am too chubby and fine to be stuck with high school pictures.

When I came out I was called beautiful, awesome

luscious, and asked often, can I kiss you now?

sex was good, and I cut a fine figure for a goddess woman.

Today I live in Virginia and I am still sexy, love my big mouth

that asks too many questions, too impatient to wait for change,

guaranteed to overwhelm any blonde for miles around.

Thank god no one has ever called me pretty,

I move too fast and I am too wrathful to wait for the mint julep to chill.

Now grey sparks and shoots through my curly hair and

there’s a red zipper down my middle where my female organs

used to be, while recovering from cancer, and my addictions,

all my sharp edges are exposed, slowly being licked clean

by God’s rough tongue like a round green stone resting on a river’s bed

reminding one of priceless and simple beauty.

Thank god no one has ever called me pretty,

I’m too courageous to live without grace and poetry.

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