Sweet Life

— Shayla Lawson

The best song wasn’t the single, but you weren’t either.
— Frank Ocean

Your southern-bred good
looks & a penchant for brown

girls a paradise of blue
-grass, sprouts deep-

rooted. My maypole of new

green, us in the bud. Making
out on your father’s couch, surreal

art & tea roses. A parade of ivy
past picket fences, our club

-house pool, the summer bent
breeze on water: transmitting

landscape in wave & pigment. I lost
an ocean of heartache in each

kiss, the crest of your tongue
clamoring, the mechanic

sprinkler system, porch swings
slivered with heat. Never mind

I shared you with peaches—other
dark-skinned debutantes—color

enough to keep the neighbors
nervous. You tasted

sweet. The best song
wasn’t the single, but you

the tops of topiaries

lawn blaring 808s & bass
guitars to vibrating

chrysanthemums; tuning
the radio to a noise neighbors

laid waste to with weed
-cutters; a grapevine

wild in our fresh
sweet youth. I mean

why see the world
when you’ve got the

—a bevvy
of limbs hemlocked

in your backyard, a pair
of post-racial

pruning sheers
—an ape-shit suburb.

Read more from Issue No. 11 or share on Twitter.