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Monica McClure

LUPE’S DIAMONDS

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

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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]