I Used to Think Those Strawberry Candies Spontaneously Generated in Old Black Ladies’ Purses

because I’ve never seen them in a single grocery store. Not at Shop ‘n Save or Dierbergs or Dollar Tree. Not at Schnucks, where the prices inflate like a cop’s ego. Not at Aldi, where toddlers appraise apples with their glossy barrettes. Not tucked in the Family Dollar shoplifter’s back pocket. Not at Straub’s, where everything costs so much that lunch is all I can afford, where the tiny old white ladies shuffle with their carts budding like coral reefs, around the corner from my high school, where the speed limit’s 35 miles an hour and someone mispronounces French into the air every morning. Crève cœur for every landscape of a lawn that left my heart broke. Where the white folks couldn’t bear to see a train track laid because niggas might come steal their hard-earned sweetness, like every suburb doesn’t hide a flowerbed of thievery. Like my niggas aren’t always being stolen from ourselves. Like every old black lady’s purse isn’t bottomless like space. Like we don’t keep some things tucked in a void, just for us.

Justin Davis, a black man with black hair, a beard and mustache. His hair is tied in a bun. He's wearing brown glasses, a black collared shirt, and a small gold necklace shaped like the "Prince symbol." He's standing outside in daytime; behind him is a building with grooved yellow walls.

Justin Davis is a writer and labor organizer. His poems have appeared in places like Breakwater Review, Anomaly, wildness, Up the Staircase Quarterly, and Apogee Journal. He’s published essays with Scalawag, Science for the People and Labor Notes. He’s been nominated for Best of the Net, Best Microfiction, and the Pushcart Prize. He lives in Memphis, Tennessee.