Judith Ohikuare

At 16, there’s no sound more disorienting than that of the Ying Yang Twins in
your ear canal, whispering in their wet, Atlanta baritone such filthy things down
the bend of your cochlea that the little quivering hair cells twist themselves into
cornrows trying to avoid that muggy laughter and raunch. You look around:
None of the other tired, disgruntled commuters on the platform are staring at
you, thank god; those teethsucking, rubbernecking Caribbean tanties and over
solicitous African uncles who can’t wait to tsk and tell you to close your open
legs and smilewide mouth. Whatever. You lower the volume and lean into the next
verse, still unable to peep the difference between the clean and dirty versions until
it’s real obvious: Wait ’till you see my dick. You get where this is headed. Turning off
the song after these imagined battles (swearing, a filmed skirmish between
you and the Q train elders after a toddler asks his mother what a pussy is, without
you backing down even a decibel) feels like a lossto the Twins for getting inside
the circuitry of your shame and tweaking, and to you for slinking away to hide.

Judith Osilé Ohikuare is the Operations & Development Director at NY Writers Coalition, a Brooklyn-based nonprofit that provides creative writing workshops for historically underserved and marginalized communities. Judith has written for various publications, including Condé Nast Traveler and Essence; worked on staff at Refinery29, Cosmopolitan, and Inc. magazines; and served as an editorial fellow at The Atlantic. She has performed at Lincoln Center’s “Poets on the Plaza” summer reading series, is a 2023 Fellow with poet Shira Erlichman’s “portable creativity school” In Surreal Life (ISL), and her Best Microfiction-nominated story “Occur,” published in September 2022, can be found in the literary journal CHEAP POP.

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