Spring Cleaning

September 23, 2020

By Nilah Foster

Even far far away 
from home I still 
am turning my head 
at all times
double checking corners 
I’ve already swept
I am convinced my 
dad knows a third 
of the city-
Or my moms side will spot 
me coincidentally
who will my face be familiar to?
I am too paranoid 
to be outside
with her hand in mines 
and not be out 

Under a roof
we take advantage 
of comfort
and remove our clothes
and are too busy loving each other 
to hear the locks undo themselves 

We are scrambling
like we overslept 3 alarms
we get everything that proves her existence here 
we shove them and her
into my closet
and this is not the first time 
It’s actually routine
She makes a joke and says 
“It’s cool, I know my place” 

I weep inside from being tired 
of tiring lovers
stuffing them into a place 
they were less coward
than me to escape 

She says
when you’re with me 
you always worried 
like you are scared
to be with me 

I apologize for turning 
her into a skeleton
she move bones 
that are dense
to make space for 
herself in my closet 

When we are alive and around 
My mom
We become bestfriends 
I know lights
dim for her
We look up to see hoodies and jeans hanging 
looking like the bottom of dirty feet 

I am sorry
for the girls I’ve turned 
into only bones 

They all tell me 
it is okay
and that they understand
But my closet is beginning to become full 
and dry
of girl’s dead tiredness
I hope to have the courage to become their alive self 
And I’m wondering
Maybe, I just need to stop having sex in my parents home
when I don’t know when they get off work 

Editor’s Note: AIDS Foundation Chicago (AFC) partnered with Young Chicago Authors (YCA) to feature poetry on our blog for the first time that was made by, celebratory and inclusive of our communities. AFC’s audience includes LGBTQ+ folks, HIV+ folks, Black and Brown people, everyone at those intersections and more. We invited YCA to invite its poets who were members of those communities, as well as poets who create poetry that speaks to and is celebratory of those communities to write for AFC’s blog. This is a first-ever partnership highlighting the work of young artists in our community.  We’re thankful to YCA for their partnership and to the young artists who contributed to this effort. Let us know if you’d like to see more poetry on our blog by emailing To support YCA in its development of young artists, donate here. To connect with Nilah, follow her on Instagram at weloveyouhere_

Categorized under Inside Story.

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