ON OUR BIRTHDAY, LORRAINE HANSBERRY & I DISCUSS SUNLIGHT
BY TARIQ THOMPSON
In my youth, I swallowed watermelon seeds
& panicked. Visions of striped fruit taking
Root in my belly plagued me. Momma told
Me nothing grows without sunlight, so I
Learned dark lived in me. O, Lorraine, I have
Been called strange & fruity, too: melon &
Lemon. Apple, mango, pine, cherry. Bananas,
Passion, black & berry. You know, it haunts
Me that so many versions of “Strange Fruit” exist.
In Nina’s, she sings the word strange like she is
About to break. In Billie’s, like she is alone. This
Is history’s cruelest duet: two voices trembling loss.
The word loss is really a villain. I’ve murmured it enough
That, if I’m tired, I can trick myself into hearing love.