sporklet 7

Naomi Extra

The Story of How My Brother Danny Was Born

The night before
Mom ate almost an entire eggplant
all by herself. In the morning
Mom felt a Fruit Roll-Up
rip inside of her.
Dad was busy doing something that pays money so Mom
called the neighbor for a ride
and lost her belly button along the way. He was supposed

to come the day after
but Dad said no, go the
other way.
When she got to the hospital,
Mom had to poop.


My grandmother packs her tetas
into a bra the size of a potato sack.
She makes us pause our game of
Super Mario Brothers to connect
its five hundred hooks.
The three of us use our bodies
to stretch the material into a fork lift.
The littlest uses his three-year-old hands
to grab grandma’s ass
and push it into the air.
I use my jumping on the bed
muscles to stretch fabric around
the cinnamon donuts of her back.
Grandma’s bra is angry.
We are flung to the floor
Laughing and screaming.
The middle one furls his brow,
Declares grandma’s bra is broken forever.
We stretch, pull, and push
her tumbles of woman.
Powdered fingerprints freckle her back.
We just want to play Nintendo.
Why is the universe against us?
The first hook is always hardest.
The three of us gather
at the center of her back, stitch her in.
The littlest one pats her bottom.
Finally grandma agrees with us.
He places his hand on her
new belly and reports

you are fat.

Spend this wisely

On the first of each
month, Dad sends me
four flimsy
one dollar bills and a
letter that basically reads:


your homework.


I buy a blueberry
bagel toasted with
and do my


My roommate and I
flash our tits
through the bedroom window
in exchange for a box of
Chips Ahoy cookies.
Crumbs remind me
how bragging is bad
and how Ryan said
the other boys
thought I was hot
for a black girl.
I decide to become vegetarian
and start a French club


I have a Polish house mother
who insists my tea cup
is lonely without a saucer.
Ms. Torbin has an apartment full
Of artifact and her shorts are shorter
than my bathing suit bottoms.
We name her after a pretend
vacuum: The Torbinator.


After dinner I splay my legs

across the furniture as if I am

home. The Torbinator zooms

into the lounge, pink nails

helicoptering above my head: Extra,

what happened? Are you selling?

One dolla, two dolla, three dolla.

Be young lady

At lights out
my Croatian roommate asks me
what a black penis looks like.
I tell her it is
probably like a Snickers bar,
except better.

Mom Still Needs Mahalia

For eight hours of the day
Mom leaves us with the dolphins
on TV. We rule remotely with ham
and mayonnaise discourse and controversy
over what time The Smurfs will come on.


Twenty minutes before Dad
growls into the driveway,
Mom dreams her genie
out of the bottle,
muffles the ripping inside
with plaster beads and feathers.


My mother’s left hip 
is renting our couch.
The latch is rusty,
We wait for what seems like days
to inspect the property. 

Our forensic search for sweets
takes us to the bedroom. Three
of her four drawers are empty.
Evidence of unravelling:
             tampon wrapper
             twinkie wrapper
             two dirty spoons


On Sunday
Mom uncases the shiny
sphere, carries it to the
record player like a fancy
tray of food.
I reach for her hand
Dont touch me, she says
When I’m feeling the holy spirit

Girls With Boobies Bigger Than Mine

When Mom lets you free at the public pool, massive wedgies from the too tight one piece some nice lady from Dad’s work gave you no longer matter. You are only really concerned with water, the deep water and the tall girls over there whose legs are almost your entire body. So you go over, say hi and don’t really care if you can swim or not because that’s when you use your tippy tippy toes to keep yourself involved and above the smell of chlorine and puberty. You ask them what their names are and how old and if they like to read books or listen to New Kids On The Block, they are classy and tell you totally, yes, love it and want to meet my friends? And so you follow them with your tippy tippy toes and your lips tilted towards the sun because this is important and you are safe with the big girls, their arms you glide into as the sweet water takes you.

I first met Naomi Extra when we taught together at a small public high school in Brooklyn.  It makes sense that Naomi worked with young people because her poems are evidence that she has an uncanny ability to empathize with and remember the way children think, feel, and experience the world.  She captures the joy, humor, and trauma of childhood, complete with public pools, boarding schools, birth, boobs, and vinyl records. Naomi is a doctoral student in American Studies at Rutgers University-Newark. —Matt L. Roar