Lucky Number 7 (Or Indications That I’d Be A Lesbian)

By T’ai Freedom Ford

when i was 7, i hoped rocks would whisper
the secret to being hard. fascinated by Keisha’s skin
so soft, i seduced her into humping even though she
was five years my senior and my babysitter—click of the light
covers snatched away like a magic trick reveal
i could hear Keisha wail one floor up
through the radiator pipes—i was the victim.

at 7, i decided i should’ve been born
a boy, a he, a him. blamed my mama for her mistake.
prayed for a penis and practiced peeing standing up
until it came: aim, angle of lean, and straddle were crucial.
toilet seat up, knees clamping the cool rim i let go
of the golden flow feeling the warm wet trickle down my legs
darkening my dungarees a new shade of blue.

at 7, i was never afraid of putting things in my mouth:
i chewed my fingernails till they bled, chewed pencils
till the yellow paint flaked me a crusty mustache,
chewed pen caps into odd sculptures, chewed pens until
the inky cylinders leaked a Rorschach on my face
kids pointing as i ran to the bathroom
oooh a butterfly! no, a thundercloud …

i wore my iron-on Bruce Lee sweatshirt till his face cracked
and faded invisible. still, i felt invincible when i wore it
kicking lunch tables with my shins. karate-chopping pencils
in two. forever trying to impress the skirts with my awkward
brand of goof. punching my arm to make lumps
rise out of the bony sinew. at 7, i knew
how to make a girl cry.

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