Black Girl Shuffle


no school no reason
to go outside
2-room 58 yelverton road.

banned from the lino
my white shoes shuffle
time-steps on a blackboard
doing my thing all summer
break on a small square space.

there was one bed
I lay in
made up for four
often sleeping one
or three but
I never slept alone.

our space kept us
tight – me and sis
we were one
of two-tapping feet
for this small girl someone
was always there
a safe world.home

on this syncopated space
bronze-medal toes
tap my mind out of corners
skip, time-travel, glide
rhythms of worlds inside myself
sounding out time
stepping on a blackboard.

from connecting medium (Peepal Tree Press, 2001), © Dorothea Smartt 2001, used by permission of the author and the publisher.

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