Nadine Marshall

His teenage hormones guiding him into traffic / body laying full on blacktopped streets and sure / he was okay but named a foolish boy.

BOY

BOY

  1. a: male child from birth to adulthoodstory goes – my father was once hit by a car
    while on his way to visit a girl on the Westside
    of Detroit. 

    His teenage hormones guiding him into traffic
    body laying full on blacktopped streets and sure
    he was okay but named a foolish boy.

    story goes – foolish boy met my mother
    while they were bubble gum smack young.
    My mother noting all the girls foolishly

    bating their eyes at my father. I have no
    reference for how they became a couple
    just that they became pregnant with me

    and soon after but before I came a marriage
    would mark their blessed union by God in a
    church knowing some of his secrets.

    Story goes – my father, foolish man
    with wandering hands always found another
    body to mark as home

    Story goes – my grandfather apologized
    to my mother, for every moment my father
    fell short of being a “good” man

    on summer nights he’d sit on the porch
    with her and say I’m sorry, daughter
    I don’t know what’s wrong with my boy.

    b: Son.

    When our mothers can no longer call us home
    the night swallows our bodies into a rhythm
    endless, our movements strobing as the disco

    ball hangs with obligation, my body
    a shadow casts on the wall in obligation
    knowing that BOIS don’t move, stand

    in a pair of Girbaud or Sean Jean jeans with
    braids tucked neatly under the 59Fifty as T,
    an older stud ushers us into a night we’re sure

    to forget, dark stank clinging to my spine the
    DJ begs us to forget our first names I drink
    and forget the way it feels when a mother no –

    longer calls you hers or when a mother forgets
    you have her first name, this ritual of giving to
    the night sky with prayer tucked underneath

    my tongue, I beg to find my father here – savior
    who calls me his Son, a boy who smiles the same
    way he did when he was young

    once, I tried on my father’s clothes, found his gun
    in the closet and thought this is what makes a man
    so I tried on the gun, pulled and pulled until my

    face became metal, my mouth the hollow home
    for a bullet each time a woman said I was worthy
    of love then said son, you trippin’

.‘bȯi’

  1. a: slang within LGBT and butch and femme communities for a person’s sexual or gender identities.When used referring to my body, I become
    origami crane, folded in the intricate shape
    of masculinity – see my delicate angles each 

    line drawn perfect, the folding is a narrative
    belonging to BOIs like me, who craft themselves
    a worthy fit to hold a woman the way boys do

    with a gentleness incapable of breaking
    until the same woman laughs at the soft
    parts rendering all BOIs worthy of a joke

    my mother says she didn’t raise a son
    her back hand makes any argument fall
    down my throat.

Nadine Marshall is a Black Trans writer from Detroit, MI. Their work has appeared in Gertrude Press, the Shade Journal, Freezeray Poetry Journal, and in Lambda Literary‘s anthology, “EMERGE”.

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