Diane Payne

TW: Racism/racial slurs



    1. In ninth grade, you go into the basement with your boyfriend and shoot bumper pool while listening to Jethro Tull. After Dad sees that your boyfriend has left the house, he says: “You fucked up now. No decent boy will ever go out with you now that you’ve dated a taco bender.”


    1. In tenth grade, you find a note in your dresser drawer. “We don’t think it’s right that you’re a DYKE. Ain’t normal seeing you hang out with your friend the way you do, getting drunk doing who knows what all night long. Stop this shit now.”


    1. In eleventh grade, you warn your college boyfriend there’s no reason to meet the family. You practically beg him not to come to your house, but he not only insists, he brings your mother a bouquet of flowers. Your dad sits on the couch drinking his beer, lets a loud belch rip, and says, “Damn it, now you’re dating a nip. Don’t you know shit about World War 2? No decent boy will ever touch you now.”


    1. In twelfth grade, you date a white boy from the private college in town. “You think you’re too good to date someone from the factory? You gotta date some rich guy from the fancy college? His family won’t never accept you. Sooner you realize that, better off you will be.”


  1. After endless years of living far from family, one day your dad looks at your three-year-old daughter and says: “It’s too bad she’s so smart cuz no one will ever respect a half-breed.”

Diane Payne’s most recent publications include: Superstition Review, Watershed Review, Tishman Review, Whiskey Island, Kudzu House Quarterly, Burrow Press, Cheat River Review, Lyme Hawk Review and forthcoming in The Offing and Literary Map Review. She has a chapbook forthcoming from Blue Lyra Press.

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