In Which All of My White Ex-Boyfriends Simultaneously Run For President by Khaya Osbourne

the careless whisper, soft pair of lips, hushed ‘i love you’ that you threw into the night
comes back to your doorstep at dawn with a greased noose and a stick of dynamite

at this moment you realize
you are an unexplainable box of tissues next to the bedside of a boy with no allergies
you are a phone call from a blocked number
a cold shower
a rainy walk home in which
someone arrives dry
an excuse
a curvy piece of shame


it is your brain they want to lynch
not you, personally
you can continue being a pair of lips for dicksucking
an unanswered snapchat
the final reason you never met any mothers
and of course
something to be grabbed by

and of course
you realize you’re an after midnight
unauthorized dessert

and of course
that does not stop the tears from burning
that does not stop the tongue from regretting the sensation of taste
that does not stop the violence from trying to tear itself apart from inside your palate

and of course

you don’t feel quite finished
but now

you realize

it was around this time last year
that you stopped seeking out all the brightness in rooms
because smiles are more sweet
when they are drowned by darkness
love comes bitter on the tongue
because no one has spoiled it

love/is not sidelong glances and tight lipped silence
love/is not when he pulls his hand away from yours as you pass people on the street
who could be his grandparents
love/is not wondering if he’ll call your kids one-half white and three-tenths mistake
love /is not having to demand he kiss you in front of all his friends
to prove it

and suddenly
you realize what you’ve been all along

A skinny dip in the Atlantic
A rattling of rusted chains
A Passage to Rebellion
right down
The Middle

Khaya is a 17 year old poet and actress born in Berkeley, CA and currently residing in Elk Grove, attending Franklin High School. She has been writing poetry since she was in the second grade. Her work centers primarily around charting the complicated existence of being colored and woman and alive—a metaphysical dilemma she wishes she could conquer and whose defeat she would whisper the secrets of into Ntozake Shange’s ear. Her work has been published in or is forthcoming in The Columbia Review, Crab Fat Magazine, Vending Machine Press, and Black Napkin Press. She will rep Black Girl Magic and South Sac ’til her dying days and she dares you to have something to say about it.

1 Comment on In Which All of My White Ex-Boyfriends Simultaneously Run For President by Khaya Osbourne

  1. Very fine writing by Khaya


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