i don’t remember what we even said. something
about your lack of femininity. tomboy at best.
lesbian at worst for a sixth-grade lunchroom.
you weren’t a threat to me. had never attacked
my cultural insecurities. the new kid with too much
and too little of everything. the one used to richer whites
and poorer Blacks. having Rosenfelds and Ramsundars
as allies or buffers. your silence never made me feel
less than because my clothes, my music, my slang
weren’t fly enough. you were sitting when i followed them
to slap the sandwich from your mouth. a dare. a bet.
you barely flinched. this was an average Tuesday:
chicken tenders, american chop suey, fruit cup, and
chocolate milk with side of abuse familiar to us both.
but i saw the flash of surprise seeing my face with theirs.
before you dropped eyes to plastic tray, did you see the shame
only one of us still carries?