I ask to jump in
no, because you’re a nigger,
Olivia responds
the dingy rope hits the cement
flecks of dust sift into the air
the other girl
keeps swinging the rope,
as if nigger is a word she hears everyday

I tell Mr. Seavor
the P.E. teacher,
he tells her to sit out for the remainder of P.E.
she doesn’t even get a detention

the next day,
I swim into a current of rhythm
at recess
two ropes tease each other
hitting the concrete on quarter beats
there’s songs to sing
ones where our heads roll
and our hips shake

we never ask to play
cause we own this game
and i never jump in,
carve out a reputation
for starting inside.
the ignition of the ropes,
a fire under my feet

-Nijla © 2009


double dutch at the apollo (2007)

double dutch at the apollo (2007)