Boy Cousins · Nichole Potts

I am eight
watching my cousins
run off & leave me
for the store
or swimming pool
or basketball court
or something better to do
I am eight
stuck in the backyard
because my cousins
can't be trusted
It's good to be boy
They don't sweep, dust, or mop,
They don't even have to bleach
white ankle socks on Saturday
to get into church on Sunday
I am eight
You can't tell me
it ain't good to be boy
They leave when they want
& even when they do wrong
it's not all their fault
They can stand in doorways
with fists on hips
& say I'm hungry
& something gets done about it
Boys don't have to hear talks about men
& down there
How you can never, ever let them touch
down there,
not with their finger
not with the tip of nothing else neither
They can't even look
down there
not for a silver dollar,
not for money that folds
not even if they promise
to take you to the store
or swimming pool
or basketball court.
It's dirty business
down there
I know
I am eight.