A Woman: Tres Partes


Beat black streets she walks.
In clogs–a hint of a heel– she clops.

Skinny shiny double silver hoops
catch the sun and click with a glint

against a backdrop of heavy hoodies
and too tight white tees–a chica, she thinks

now, she fires off a blitz with a gum
snap and a trill, and says “Kick it.”


Smooth, sweet chica takes a seat, looks around
and swizzles sticks while he swings
a pole up to his hips and looks around.
Tightens his grip.

She orders up, flicks ashes
—he looks around—
she takes a sip,
then sets her drink down.

Winning his hustle he leans back
—takes a break—
next shot he makes he’ll pick up the slack.

The music’s up, a second whiskey sour, stuck
in a beat she taps her feet. Their eyes meet.
Time for slower, lower the neon lights of the bar
and fights won’t blur the passing signal and a hectic
man will walk through, tell them to go, together.
Slams the door.


Mujer washes makeup, midnight stains, and cries
away strange green stares. He’s left for the night and though
she told him to go she screams bloody midnights in cotton
clothes and legs too tight. No earrings on, no new delights
like the rhythm of her feet in her chanclas and tights. It’s all
been too fast and what she wants to say is the music that’s kept
her out all day just slowed to a stop and the darkness dropped
her body out of his sights and she stays alone through this fateful night.

One more look in the mirror and she sees the black streaks cross
over her cheeks and she’s not very neat. A few hours’ time
and she senses bloodlines mixed too many ways over too many days
and this is all that’s left. Grown in twelve hours, she’ll see what the street
lacks. She’ll stick to her room.

It’s got her back.

Cheryl Chambers