Testimony – Imani Davis

If we’re not counting last august,
he’s a good man. Smiles at cashiers as he tucks
coins he’ll forget about into a jean pocket. Never misses
Mother’s Day dinner. A Facebook photo
of him at four comes to mind: gap-toothed exception gleefully learning
new words for “more.” Trying out “gimme” or “mine.” Years after
he’s spread into maturity, his neighbors swear him division 1
charming. The type of sweet that makes you stop asking questions.

cut to the swoon
of the night. practiced enough in tepid
mirror choreography, i swing
at memorized angles to a track
by a publicly bad man. watch privately bad men
recite each verse. understand that this moment is a product
of repetition. step. sway.
slither. sweat.
steal. sing something
about forgiveness. smile. start again.

He couldn’t have I know him he has such a nice smile I bet he smiled
at you just right and you’re ashamed of what happened next you know you
have to own up to your choices you know that was a choice right I know
him he studies so hard business I think or communication one of those
jobs where you gotta know how to say the right thing until you don’t I
hear the starting salary is amazing crazy how much you can make to
hustle people out of their

underwear. blue boyshorts from the men’s section. above that,
jean shorts mom hesitantly approved on a whim. a striped racerback cami i
never gave back to my sister. she’d know what to do right now. red
converse stick to the floor on my way out of that little hell. none of
it touches my body again.