“halloween in college” and “a few things you should know about the universe without swings” use alternate realities to reimagine the past. They both explore language and spacing to give new, radical life to situations that seem unalterable.
halloween in college
IS LIKE when i went downtown to catch the blue line a Black woman fell on the tracks and didn’t die when i got to jake’s place he asked me if i was okay i said yeah but he didn’t get it she reached out her hands no one would grab them maybe they wouldn’t touch her because she smelt dirty or drunk or maybe she looked too black to survive another day jake wanted to go to the movies get high get my mind off it or something but he didn't get it the train came three minutes later it took me one and a half minutes to get her up we all got on anyways no one cried BUT ON the actual day of halloween i decided to put my body in a room full of other bodies i guess it’s my fault but I was the only black girl at the party i still thought i looked nice and i wanted someone to look at me or something when too many drunk and white bodies shoved me i fell over searched for an open fist there wasn’t one it’s the scariest halloween party I've ever been to if i had three minutes left to spare the music would just get louder THE DAY after halloween i dreamt about the woman who fell on the tracks she turned green and big stopped the train with her pinky jumped to sky blocked the sun tinted the earth green the men with closed fists hid underground and never came out BACK TO the sticky frat floor here’s how it happened for real i melted through the ground deeper and deeper i made it to the center of the earth it wasn’t hot like people say i felt a nice breeze met lots of other people we all said hello and danced and danced and dance
a few things you should know about the universe without swings
1. i didn't know he was dead until i checked Facebook. hadn't posted in a while. his kid said dada first and scratched a lot came back to chicago incase he need to help out or something but he should've just left. 2. because the park don't have swings no more. it's the Black kids' fault they like the swings too much and swing too high the university don't like moving targets. said it's a safety concern. i don't think it was. 3. i haven't been home since the university and the ghosts decided they don't want me to have too much fun without them so, now i live. 4. in a universe without swings i guess you could call it parallel or imaginary all i can tell you is that we usually lay down here tough to get outta bed sometimes and, yeah. there are still flying things.
Asha Futterman is a poet from Chicago. She is currently a student at Barnard College in New York studying English with a concentration in Race and Ethnic studies.