Deonte Osayande

Deonte Osayande is a former track and field sprinter turned writer from Detroit, Mi. He writes nonfiction essays and his poems have been nominated for the Best of the Net Anthology, a Pushcart Prize and published in numerous publications. He has represented Detroit at multiple National Poetry Slam competitions. He’s currently a professor of English at Wayne County Community College, and teaching youth through the Inside Out Detroit Literary Arts Program. His first full collection of poems entitled Class, is now out with Urban Farmhouse Press.

 

The Cracked Out Russian Stripper

 

Accent thick as molasses, pouring

from out of her. Looking tired, she

asked to be taken to the gas station

 

for some cigarettes before her attention

became fully compelled by what was

 

on her phone. I took her to her apartment

downtown, above this bar where we had held

open mic nights years before. I could tell how

drugs coursed through her veins even then

 

when I was giving her the ride but instead I drive,

thinking of this Polish woman I was friends with

years before, how her accent was so thick you couldn’t

 

swallow the words she was saying. We first met

when I was practicing on the track and didn’t know

 

she had come up there. Years later she would gift me a kiss

on the cheek for being a good friend. Today, she is married,

the sweet molasses swallowed by another man, meanwhile

 

I’m giving this stranger a ride in my car, thinking

of what could have been had I been more assertive.

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