No More White Girls, or What I Learned from Father by Kemi Alabi

Sure, your daddy hit you,
but only once
& not like mine—
all knuckle
& leather
& the fear of God,
the divine right of kings
turned taxi drivers.

Your daddy hit like
he’d been here
for generations
& never ran away
from nothing
just to be nobody, 
like he could be Jesus
‘cause Jesus looks
like him here.

My father hit like
a Nigerian’s first
Wisconsin winter,
(what kind of human 
survives through this?
like, on a good day, 
his name’s a fresh
spitwad in some
pink teller’s mouth.

You can hurt me like
late for curfew, 
crashed the car.
I can hurt you like
home’s an ache
no one believes.

You inherited glut,
bloodsweet heart
marbled prime,
tender meat.

I inherited hunger,
popped jaw, all teeth,
& father taught me
how to feast.

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Contributor Notes

Kemi Alabi is a Black queerdo from and for the future. Their poetry and essays appear or are forthcoming in The Guardian, The Toast, Winter Tangerine, Apogee Journal, HEArt, and elsewhere. Based in Oakland, CA, they coordinate Echoing Ida, a Forward Together community of Black women and non-binary writers. Watch them lurk @kemiaalabi.