I have Black Friends

by April Jones


Leondra and I are eleven. Her mom is
a crack head and mine is a stripper. We
rode the bus once after we stayed up
all night so she could braid my hair like Brandy’s.

Leondra’s daddy left her like mine
we say we don’t miss them while we catch
crawdads in the creek, gray pinchers and all.

Leondra lies a lot about family we both wish
we had. She created a cousin who lives in L.A.
that knows the Backstreet Boys and she says
her daddy is coming home every weekend.

Leondra is a liar, and I am
a coward. I can’t be friends
with a liar
, I told her over the phone. I didn’t cry
until I’d hung up. A week later Leondra knocked on my door,
and slapped me in the face. She had tears in her eyes.

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