I Guide Stevie Wonder by the Hand
I wait patiently at the corner, watching lights
I say nothing, but walk. He walks.
His hand is slim in mine, cold and dry.
He doesn’t know it, but the color collects in the bed of his fingernails:
This is where he is blackest.
I guide him around a corner
The building with cinder glass obscures what’s inside
I imagine rich people there
I say, “rich white people, but we can’t see them working.”
I nudge him a little and he steps a little higher, avoiding
Legs laying out on the sidewalk, splayed
Brown bagged bottle between them.
Beside the bakery
We smell nuts and caramel cooking
I tell him that everything is beautiful:
Cakes tiered for weddings, cookies decked out for celebrations, candies small and brown.
“Rich white people dressed in furs and cashmere, flashing bills I can’t recognize.”
I walk him further and slow my step over ice
Around dog shit
. His nose wrinkles
We are near the park and I angle him—
We walk across the block long park.
The grass is crunchy with winter.
In the exact middle of the park,
Stevie stops me,
We stand still and my heart feels too violent.
He says, “Listen. Just shhh.”
Play Date: Tina Turner | Janis Joplin
I painted her toenails blue
Though the bottle said “azure”
We say this word “azure” aloud
Exaggerating the ‘Z’
And share sounds that make our lips
I blow air on her toes
She blows air across the waves.
About the Poet
DeMisty D. Bellinger teaches creative writing at Fitchburg State University in Massachusetts. Her fiction and poetry have appeared in many places, most recently in Driftless Review and Specter Magazine. Her short-short “Tiger Free Days,” first published in WhiskeyPaper, is on the Wigleaf’s Top 50 Short Fictions of 2014. DeMisty lives in Massachusetts with her husband and twin daughters.