darlene anita scott’s poetry has appeared, or is forthcoming in,a number of anthologies, including Homegirls Make Some Noise, Growing Up Girl, Stand Your Ground, and Role Call, as well as in ITCH, Specter, The Baltimore Review, Tidal Basin Review, Quiddity, and diode. The recipient of grants from the Virginia Commission for the Arts and the Delaware Division of the Arts, scott has been a fellow at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, the Hurston Wright Foundation, the Callaloo Creative Writing Workshop, and the Julia and David White Artists’ Colony in Costa Rica.
just before my brother was born.
She promised me every
with a twenty dollar bill
I Learn to Love the Body She Loves, 28 September, 1977
If I found my Bible
what would I do with it
much more than
tack the pieces together
and my permanent fix
dust, without a fairytale,
to pretty, its
I liked to get high
for that kind of reason
thousand little neurons
buzzing in my brain so
orderly the hum was its
The devil you know is
better than the one
you don’t. I take 2 and
in the morning
trouble the shower
just the same pretending
not to see the thick
scar tissue, a jagged mountain range
into the ravine of her crack.
Sunday Open House, 17 December, 1977
pick something pretty.
You have to pull it as tight as you can
behind both ears. Tie a knot to keep it
Then begin wrapping. Tucking
where you must.
until after you’ve wrapped and tucked
all of the fabric
to look in the mirror
and make any adjustments
Sitting still is stupid he swung his Buster Browns,
banging the bottom of the bench with each heel,
nearly kicking the rear of the lady in front of him.
Except his legs were too short.
He practiced plusses and take-aways in his head; made up stories
about the brownish people who came,
sometimes, to meals. Until the songs hushed. The ladies whimpered.
The men brined in their sweat.
Father heaved in his black robe; said “shit.”
There was more, but that’s when Jon went still. A hangnail stung;
he tried to bite it off, sucked at the blood
under the shifted bit of skin, and waited his chance to ask Miss Edith
for a band-aid. He set his eyes on the burgundy polyester
of Lou’s pant leg, the bell of it ringing silently in its private breeze.
My smile handles crack at each tiny wrinkle
I am desert dust
And hot enough to spontaneously combust, no-sweat
Burning just the same. Heat like moonshine
Goes slow and scorches
But I do not budge.
I have a chance to picture him
Naked and careless in sleep before
My prayers of mother and father, my soul
growling for want of them.
Trifling journey what scrolls
Drive through reels fidgeting soundless.
I nod from sleeplessness only I know:
Good and faithful servant
Pretending not to smell.