night at the taco house
he came in to rob the place
the waitresses were flush with fear and tears
the guys sat around yammering
what he was doing caused some kind of disruption
he beckoned. i went over to his corner
he put the gun to my head, said
"empty the register"
the kiss deep hard cold against my temple
there was a click sound
if i move sudden i'm dead, i thought
and if i hesitate this clown might off me
nd so i said, "shoot motherfucka or quit wasting my time"
there was surprised silence
then everyone broke into strained laughter
"it's a joke," he said, "you didn't cry like the other girls"
and there were slaps on the back and
cracks about my ice cool
and from that day till the day i quit
everybody kept their distance

:: Wanda Coleman, African Sleeping Sickness (Black Sparrow, 1990)

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