New Year's Eve Party at Eric's House and the Black Boys Have Had Enough

William Evans


because now the DJ is playing Doo Wop like it's brand new
even though we're 15 minutes away from 2001 and Lauren
Hill baptized us over two years ago, but this is what shedding
your old coat of skin in the suburbs looks like, pretending that
you were never cut just so you can bleed again for an audience,
and when the White boy turns his fitted cap backwards and asks
me if I have heard this song before, I don't make note that he
is White as much as realizing how far from home I am,
and while there is someone at this party hearing Lauren sing
for her life for the first time, there is a gathering of my blood
where this song triggers the memory of a boy who will never hear it again,
a broken necked hymn that only wants me to make it out of here
without any scars, but the year has almost died on our skin, almost slid
down our necks in the heat of this basement, filled with people that will
brag that the Blacks made it to their party, so Ish decides we were
not built to be bronzed and grabs his coat on the way up the stairs.
I follow him to the Ohio wind that fills our coats we swore
were warmer before we got here, and we slide pride first
into his car. We open the new year the way ungraceful fingers
open a gift not meant for them. It is 12:01 and Ish repeats
I can't do it Will. I just can't. And I laugh because I think he means he
can't go back to that party or he can't live like this, because if it
was I can't go back or I can't live, it wouldn't be nearly as funny.