I mean, I know Cheeseburger and Polo Mack, they some bad boys. Cause that’s what my Mama say they is. She call them “Northern Rats” ‘cause they hang around here in Hattiesburg, Mississippi on the corner of 30th Avenue and Jefferson Street, where I live. “Come down here to thaw out in the sun,” Mama say. They draw ugly things on my Mama ‘s white picket fence. They and some more boys call themself the “Folks.” They draw moons and stars and pitchforks all over her fence. She don’t say nothin’ to them. She just give them her hot eyes as she slaps fresh paint over their drawins on her fence. But she yells at me ever’ time they come around.
“They ain’t never said nothin’ to me, Mama. And I ain’t never said nothin’ to them,” I plead with her.
“They hang around here ‘cause you a gal,” my Mama say.
Even when I walk quickly by them with my head down in my shoulders like a broke-neck chicken, my Mama don’t be no happier. She says if I was a son instead of a daughter, I would run them wild nigguhs away from her picket fence.
But there is somethin’ else too. I don’t know if Mama knows it or not, but I am in love with Cheeseburger. He is tall and skinny and the color of Mama’s mahogany dinin’ room table. He’s got a long thin neck that I want to hug. His eyes make me cry ‘cause they so sad and dreamy lookin’ . I want him to be dreamin’ about me. My Cheeseburger’s got a short square haircut like my boy cousin who’s in the army. Cheeseburger wears a small diamond earring. He reminds me of my best girlfriend, Thelma, who’s willowy like a black weed. Sometimes I don’t know why I love Cheeseburger. One day I love his eyes. Next week it’s his chest. Then later, the sight of his thighs sends me to heaven. I wonder if my Mama knows how much I love Cheeseburger. Wish she would say, “That boy make you a good husband, Della.” But then I probably wouldn’t want him no more.