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She had other nieces
at least eight
but mine was an expensive gift
to never lose
They were jagged freckles of light
My aunts said let her wear her hair down
no importa
burnt red lipstick and diamond specks
How I suffered from feeling blanched
in a world inhabited by amber
women who would never let me
run around like a wetback
in the snake high grass with heavy dust
in the shoes my cousins and I
hopped like grease
shed our skin and listened for rattles:
Have you seen my white son-in-law?
who went to the drugstore for me
The smell of the river is very old
and my back is slight from the liberty of it
When I suffered my aunt bought me diamonds
two flecks of cartwheeling light
to never lose
and when I lost them in the river
I got a second chance

Monica McClure is currently based in New York City, where she teaches at Bloomfield College. Her poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Lambda Literary, The Los Angeles Review, The Adirondack Review, Loaded Bicycle, Indigest, The Lit Review, Paperbag, No Dear and elsewhere. She is co-editing, with poet Brenda Shaughnessy, an anthology, Both and Neither: Biracial Writers in America. [Author photograph by Nick Parkinson]

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Ben Fama is the author of the chapbook Aquarius Rising (Ugly Duckling Presse, 2009) and New Waves (Minutes Books, 2011). He is the co-editor of Wonder, a publisher of art books, glossies, and pamphlets. His work has been featured in jubilat, notnostrums, LIT, Poor Claudia, Denver Quarterly, and on the Best American Poetry Blog.

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  • bobby parry September 21, 2012, 9:57 am

    1989, just another game, was it just
    a football match, and did I die for blame? April was the month, 15th
    was the date, time was on my side you know, cos I was never late. Butties for
    my journey, money off my dad, scarf around my little neck, I am my Mothers lad.
    Oh the mighty reds, semi final day, couldn’t wait to see my team, I wasn’t
    drunk okay? Singing on the coach, waving mum goodbye, blow a kiss and see her
    smile, I didn’t mean to die? Got my ticket here, in my tracksuit top, it was
    red and white of course, like my old famous Kop. What an atmosphere, walking to
    the ground, thousands of supporters sing, I’m feeling safe and sound. Turn-style
    over there, feel a little push, what’s the need to swear at me, this copper in
    a rush? Something isn’t right, feeling threatened now, hoarded like an animal, but
    I’ll get in somehow? I can see gate C, there is something wrong, men on horses
    lose control, I still hear that song. This anthem was my last, frightened on my
    own, I lost my dad along the way, my need to walk alone. The gate was opened
    wide, they let us in as one, released my fear and said a prayer, where has my
    daddy gone? Carried by a wave, women kids and men, there was no escape for me,
    inside this little pen. Nowhere left to go, crying for my dad, Mum I need a
    little help, cos this is really bad. Coming up for air, there was not enough,
    taking breath that wasn’t there, already out of puff. Falling to the floor,
    someone help me please, lift me up and carry me, just get me off my knees. What
    is going on? Why am I in here? I have come to watch my team, instead I shed a
    tear. Why is that man still? Horror on his face, get me out before I die, my
    only saving grace. The song I love has gone, replaced with cries and screams,
    this is not what I came for, so distant from my dreams? Lost within a wall, of
    dying souls like me, my eyes they close as I give up, I’m drowning in this sea.
    I gasp again for air, but it is way too late, my fight has gone with my last
    breath, resigned I am to fate. Oh my Mammies tears, the Mersey they will fill,
    the sorrow of this Saturday, will have to wait until. Justice being served, I’m
    angry that I’m dead, amongst the 96 that day, I was to blame they said? The sun
    they printed truth, of lie’s upon their lie’s, with politicians who were bent,
    the men I now despise. The police who got it wrong, the carers I don’t trust,
    the paramedics lied to me, to cover up a must? Say a prayer for me, for I have
    sorely gone, and long before my time I add, this justice for no one. I am a
    lonely soul, who longs to be at peace, my mum and dad need peace as well, their
    pain will never cease. But on this special day, the truth is plain to see, that
    I was not to blame that day, this truth is sent by me. My spirit lingers on,
    cos we shall not be moved, a son who went so far away, a sin that will be
    proved. I stand in silent awe, beside my loyal friends, the 96 including me,
    our resting now depends. On evidence so clear, the public my domain, I’ll rise
    above deceitful men, to be with you again. The light that shines for me,
    exonerates the blame, the truth is out and I will live, as your eternal flame. I Love you mum and dad, I love you
    Merseyside, I love you all across the park, together we have pride. The time
    has come to rest, so please don’t be too sad, I’ll get the truth to you
    somehow, so trust in me your lad. [email protected]

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