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Jazzmeen Autry by Nicole Gervasio | Word Riot

January 15, 2010      

Jazzmeen Autry by Nicole Gervasio

Girl’s got a voice like a gun barrel
clank clock click clocking
when she gossips, My brother Marcus
smashed that slut up behind

the back parking lot. Jazzmeen giggles
in puffing bullet streams. I am
trying to remember what being 12
years old felt like. Flat bandeau bras

because my boobs were still too bitty
to fit real cotton cups, and boys were
what I knew I was supposed to want
but didn’t. Yeah, that Rasheera’s

nasty. If she’dve got with my brother,
I’dve whooped her ass real good,

Wadae’s voice swoops like a siren,
10 years old like Marcus and running,

their laughter swelling. The college
girl beside me shifts uncomfortably
in her safety seat, not from anywhere this
dirty. Meanwhile I’m perplexed

because I didn’t know 10-year-old boys
could get it up. One look at Jazz
tells me her brother probably looks
to be 14. Girl’s got hair extensions, wears

a B-cup and mascara. I was a lot like her
at 12, pretty eyes alert to the fact that I was
fat, loaded with flesh like some folks have
money. Her problem is she’s buxom,

black magnificent. We’ve both got scars
on limbs skinned by concrete, but mine
show like a star on a sleeve. She’s
got the built-in cover-up, but nothing

should be so sexy on a sixth grader. That
Rasheera bitch done got what she deserved
for messin’ with him,
she finishes aiming,
fires. The mentor my age chides, It’s not

nice to say such things; I’ve got nothing
to say myself. Girl’s got promise, dreams,
and power. Her heart’s like a cylinder rotating
between the blanks of love and the bullets

of disaster, and I’d like to tell her even
her brothers agree black is beautiful and her
body won’t entrap her. Girl’s got iron
in her eyes. I know my hopes might just be lies.

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