Ryn Braxton

Despite how good it might feel, the sun is oppressive
I am a plant
I am one of a suspected many of black girls suffering from vitamin D deficiency soaking sun
Despite being told not to by our uncles who thought they knew something of beauty and health
Poor things
My chlorophyll is a basketball
In seventh grade my dad tells me if I don’t foul out before the game’s end, well then I didn’t want to win badly enough
I discover in stretching my arms up to the popcorn gymnasium ceiling and shoving my armpits
In the face of a girl with a pink athletic wrap headband that wanting to win is sex
As I bloom into a young lady, I commonly spend the fourth period on the bench with my legs
Wide open, looking through beads of sweat at the scoreboard, determined
I believe in kings and thrones and mimicry
My precious brother calls me a dyke out in public
I secretly love this, and love also opening my armpits, and soaking in the sun

Kamloops, Brantford, Spanish
There will always be whispers of more
Confess to me how badly it hurt
To have them watch you grow up
Half-interred, belly sideways, navel pointing towards the entire earth
How can I put it?
Those who were trusted with the grave responsibility of tending to the ground’s wellbeing were left inside of it, with the same quick shame that flies secrets like paper airplanes behind the backs of nuns, abusers, law;
There are no ways to put it
Every “sorry” is a nation

My cunt broke when I slipped trying to tag a white girl and landed on a goalpost
It was not my goal to break it
It was not my fault
It had rained
There are hooks on goalposts
A hook grabbed my 9 year old clitoris and tore it apart
My goal to revisit the past would be to tell that girl’s mother,
Yes I broke my cunt
No you had your period
Yes I broke my cunt
No you had your period
My goal to revisit the past revised would be to skip our argument and see a doctor, where perhaps the same conversation would ensue

It’s no use
I broke my cunt at 9
I had my period at 12
& sex hasn’t been the same since

Ryn Braxton is a poet, essayist and playwright from St. Paul, Minnesota.