When someone asks me to describe Tanisha, do I tell them
the first time she echoed I love you back on the platform
at 53rd and Lex. Or how she was the Jamaican goddess Aida-Wedo,
frothing men up just by stepping onto the sidewalk. Or how I’d haul
my ass two hours from Brooklyn to the Bronx to show her,
when she wouldn’t answer and wouldn’t answer. Her math teacher
was not white, she was Jewish. Her son didn’t go to day care, it was LYFE.
Her SAT prep book, thick as a telephone directory, a Christmas present
I thought she should be grateful for. The way her skin was always moist
with coco butter, the smell forever lodged in her history. Her red vinyl belt
cinched so tight, I thought she might explode. Her outgoing
message played Jay-Z for so long I was annoyed
before I even spoke. It was a test. How much did you like her?
How long were you willing to hold on?