We learn love like part-time workis who’s available. Who’s hereand willing to worship the lambcurl of our hair each morningwhen the sun untucks us from our marriagebed. We’ve been taught by mothers to be womenmeans to be a convenience store:always open to his advances, butwe learn advances seldom come. To be a black woman means unwanted on every tongueor black women like contranym, a kink in the crown. Language universalagainst the autumn danger of our fall-ing hips. He’s begging our lipsbe rimmed more beige than brown, a light-skinned shawty: black men’s wantborn from 300 years of white masters and rape—is that too reductive for your comfort?I want comforttoo, I hate to beconvenience store, but our menstay gone, made gone or barred. How to love a man made risk- y when law’s around? And those still breathing, black men leftto turn their stalks to the feeding sun, they never let a lady beenough when she’s too much.Want a woman who knows her silence. We learn a black womanis everything her mouth can do but talk. Especially when she talksloud when she talks moneyknowing damn well a black mancan’t compete in a white world and a bitch who forgetdon’t respect his struggle.He’ll find a white girl who does. She’ll make him feela man. Black girl tongueslike guillotines. Always making eunuchs. This, their transformativepower. See how she makes a man a miracle. Raises him from beet roots, cultivates a garden in his chest,when given a chance. But chancesseldom come. A black woman changestoo, how she makes herselfconvenience store. She hates to beconvenient, store her hope like lights, kept on for menwho know to pay for what they want.