by Sheree Renee Thomas

Marrakesh with eyes the color of flat river stone, Marrakesh of the matted hair and buttered teeth, Marrakesh whose name the teachers mispronounce, ignoring the children’s prayer—Marra—keeesh, Marra—keeesh, the big black beast / Marra—keeesh, Marra—keeesh, the big black beast—the middle school mantra a fluttering moth in her head. Marrakesh whose stretch marks circle ashy thighs like plowed fields before rain, Marrakesh with eyes the color of flat river stone, is the girl who no one claims, befriends, sits alone eating her baloney sandwich with neither cheese nor mayonnaise to ease it down her throat, the throat where her true-true name is caught and the words dangle in spittle cobwebs, like leave me alone like stop hurting me like an unsung song, disremembered.

Marrakesh of the thrift shop clothes that never fit, of the disco rumpshaking hand-me-downs, decades old, discarded pieces of sequined tanks that catch, reflect the school’s fluorescent lights, the bellbottomed blues that her mama can no longer claim, wears her mama’s rumpshaking hand-me-downs, decades old, disfigured and floats down the halls, smelling like pussy.