that summer                  radio dripped                  into the streets
             my cousin twisted my hair like da brat's
                          & left eye introduced me             to baggy pants  & wifebeaters
makeup was     the residue from popsicles                    blue & orange  around my lips
i rode my bike up & down the block                    as if it would change me
             all day              the purple & pink                                           streamers kept flying
                          in the wind i created
my knees were still raw          from the concrete
             i just couldn't seem to stop falling
             my neighbor     sat on the porch all day          watching the day pass
once, i saw her              let her baby            drink out of a can of olde english
             all i could think about was           how my grandmother was right
that she was too grown     &     needed to pick up a book
             since she didn't know nothing  about nothing
             i was growing dizzy from     seeing the same               trees & porches
so when she invited me on her porch             out of the sun                            i joined her
             she couldn't have been more than 17
                          she told me       "you are somebody"
maybe more to herself                    than me
                          her son balancing              tipsy                 across the porch

About the Poet

Raina Lauren Fields currently attends the Master of Fine Arts program in poetry at Virginia Tech. Her poetry has been published or is forthcoming in Callaloo, Diverse Voices Quarterly, Breadcrumb Scabs, PANK, and Gargoyle.