How to get a black man to plant his hopes inside of you

One: break your own spine, vertebrae by vertebrae
until you can fit comfortably in the sole of his left shoe.
Swallow yourself whole, thumbnails and ear wax,
only to regurgitate his favorite nooks and crannies of your body.

Two: waste tears on the childlessness he leaves you with at night;
this emptiness which sits in the corners of your grandmother’s hips.
Pray to all of the Gods when his voice proves unfaithful,
and spend the lonely minutes asleep inside of his childhood dreams.

Three: breathe silently and hold some thunder tightly in your sighs;
forget those that have raised you, down to the scent of their moldy
fingertips as they run over and between your pink and violet lips.
Then grow roots into the footholds of the furniture, leaving traces of your Mother.

And when that isn’t enough, consider having his child anyways.

JAMILLA VANDYKE-BAILEY is a black girl turning blue.