In Louisville, from a sidewalk-

turned-sideline on West Broadway,

I catch my beloved,

absent for weeks now,

leading a cortège of Chevelles through the chaos

of revelers, as earlier that day the children

led their handmade floats around a grade-school

Derby parade. As he comes toward me,

so too does a throat-dark woman

carrying past the scent of coconut,

her naked breasts glisten, slick

as the skin of his convertible coupe.

My eyes—lit up at him—know

why he chooses this very spot to turn

the chain of revving beasts

through a slow U:

picture the Nian at New Year,

now, his headlights flooding across

my red velour Rocawear dress

& for a moment you can see

I am the one. Rumor has it the beast's weakness

is an aversion to loud noises,

fear of the color red.

We are all too familiar with this combination,

myths that we are. Even this night

on the main thoroughfare of River City, splitting our side

in two, a few of us will become

legend. I hear a girl say there he is—my lover

who is also her lover, I see. I watch

a boy dance with sharp & ancient movements

to Lil' Boosie on the roof of an old Buick.

Someone' daddy calling out Redbone to me

from behind a pit, thick with smoke

& the end of an animal. The tail

of the monster that keeps him from me, always

out of reach, whips away & evanesces

at the bend on 18th street.

oy Priest is the author of Horsepower (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2020) winner of the 2019 Donald Hall Prize for Poetry for AWP. Her poems have appeared in Callaloo, Gulf Coast, Mississippi Review, The Southeast Review, and Best New Poets 2019 among others. Currently, she is a 2019-2020 Fine Arts Work Center fellow in poetry.