I am currently working my way through the oeuvre of Toni Morrison, an American author who I am thinking of writing my English thesis about. In her first novel, The Bluest Eye, she writes most of the story from the eyes of an eleven year old black girl called Percola Breedlove. In one chapter, Percola visits three whores, Miss Marie, Poland, and China, who live on the floor above her. Poland only talks when she’s drunk and only sings when she’s sober, “her voice sweet and hard, like new strawberries.”

The chapter ends with one of her songs, which split me open like a walnut shell.

I know a boy who is sky-soft brown

I know a boy who is sky-soft brown

The dirt leaps for joy when his feet touch the ground.

His strut is a peacock

His eye is burning brass

His smile is sorghum syrup drippin’ slow-sweet to the last

I know a boy who is sky-soft brown

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