If my mother were alive
If my mother were alive, we’d talk about our men.
We’d laugh throw our heads back push
each other at the shoulders say remember the man
you left early in the morning and when you got dad
to say that he was gay so that whatshisname wouldn’t
think you were still sleeping with him.
She’d tell me that not all men can be conquered that easily
and that she’d had wanted to really be loved by a man
but they only wanted her because she was beautiful.
My second cousin calls me Tracy sometimes.
She says I sound like my mother when I laugh.
And she says I don’t take men seriously either
and only fuck them just want to fuck them.
I want to tell her it’s because I am black and a woman
and want a chance at my own body
that mommy’s surgery was her having a chance at her own body
that she fucked men because we all have learned to fuck men
but I think Pam knows all of this.
She is a black woman too.
She knows the lives of men because each of the men she married
died— widowed her.
She tries not to remember running
to the alley and discovering bullet holes
in her second husband’s chest.
I want to know why my mother
wanted the surgery
positioned herself as fixable
a black woman a black female body
sex and body and color
in need of cutting and blending
like to be too large and too dark.
I’d ask my mother if she really believed the doctors
that her body was too much
if she thought it too heavy and wet when she tried
to hold or touch herself.
I’d lean on my mother
ask if she thought her body was too much
the way my body is too much when some of the men look
at me and all the scholars look
at me like my body is black and female and fixable
or like my body is black and female and fixed
Simone Savannah is from Columbus, Ohio and studies Creative Writing at The University of Kansas. Her poems are forthcoming and have appeared in Big Lucks, Powder Keg, Apogee, GlitterMOB, Voicemail poems, The Fem, The Pierian, Vending Machine Press, Puerto del Sol, and Blackberry: A Magazine.