noun.  cove.

  1. a small indentation or recess in the shoreline of a sea, lake, or river.
  2. a sheltered nook.
  3. a hollow or recess in a mountain; cave; cavern.
  4. a narrow pass between woods or hills.
  5. a sheltered area between woods or hills.

as a verb

    to provide (a room, ceiling, etc.) with a cove.


“Perhaps we need to let go of all notions of manhood and femininity and concentrate on Blackhood …submerge all breezy definitions of manhood/womanhood until realistic definitions emerge through a commitment to Blackhood” ~Toni Cade Bambara

“What color are black girls’ pussies,” asked Ryan, one of the white boys in the seat behind me.

i didn’t answer. had no answer. didn’t know. they weren’t talking to me anyhow.

his friend, another white boy, had “done” a black girl. “No—seriously what color are they? Are they like purple or sumthin?” The first boy begged.

it was a warm humid Virginia day, one of the last of my seventh grade school year, and my thighs were sticky against the bus seat leather.

i sank further down in seat, longing to become even more invisible than i already was in that moment. i didn’t want them asking me. in retrospect, that anxiety seems so funny—of course they would have never asked me. they would have had to see me first to ask me.

as soon as i got off the bus, i hurried to my bathroom.  clutched a mirror between my legs and took in the purplish-brown tint that bled into a pale pink deep between my lips, punctuated at the top by a tiny anemic bead, white at the tip melting into a similar shade of baby pink, acting as a kind of compass. my sex organ

—and sex long before the first time i had sex—

were intrinsically with my blackness. my womanhood and sexuality, both, enveloped in blackness. naked from the waist down, i peered into it and saw that part of me breathe, tucked behind wiry black curls that resembled those on my head.

soon I will wax and get hair extensions with side-slung bangs that deemphasized the wide brim of my nose and be pretty and feel that part of me breathe and be desired and worshiped.

i thought.


they could always fuck me. or rather—want me to fuck them. but never had the capacity, the time, or patience to ever really want me, entertain the possibility of loving me, be open to truly knowing me and my blackness—all of me, not in the abstract and not as some half-hearted attempt to prove how progressive they thought they were. there was more than enough of that.

I’m a lesbian at a liberal arts school in New England, yeah I [‘done’] a black girl, and I campaigned for Obama in 2012.

hell, they never even looked at it. never fully looked to see what color it was, to notice the rich royal mahogany-mingled-violet



it didn’t matter. it was just a thing with a function. too hard, time-consuming to wrap their minds around this difference. their tongues too.


i’ve never felt as isolated as i did the night of the “Lesbian Takeover”. in a room, wall to wall, filled with queer womyn. spell it with a ‘y’ because they were all self-proclaimed feminists. white. i had never felt so alone. so unwanted. so invisible. more invisible than my middle school self, who dreamed of long straight hair and decidedly pink lips as she sank deeper into her bus seat. years earlier i saw myself breathe, tentative as it was it was breath. but that night i saw myself gasping for air, shrink and tuck itself away. slap me on the ass, but they’ll buy her a drink?

i stood there in a liquid string, begging for someone—



to take my femininity, to believe in it

all the while knowing that all notions of  womanhood | manhood | personhood for Black people are obscured by overarching presumptions of their blackhood. black women as strong, unrelenting, less attractive (or at least not “conventionally attractive” which means not white), less feminine and less delicate yet hyper-sexual. the mamie and the jezebel.

and silently that night came to the conclusion that no one would be capable of loving me, wanting me beyond biological function. my imagination disappeared my vagina. it drown in a pool of black. not a dyke. not a woman. not a thing with a vagina. just black. and in that blackness, invisible.


months later, I found my love.

some one who didn’t commodify my blackness but instead appreciated it, listened to it, and valued it.

No Comments Yet

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

bluestockings magazine
WP-Backgrounds Lite by InoPlugs Web Design and Juwelier Schönmann 1010 Wien