At a dinner in one of the high class hotels downtown

the waitress looks familiar. When the two of you

get a chance alone in the hallway you catch up

briefly on what you’ve been doing since

high school. Before rejoining

your table she asks how

you got invited

there. She asks

if you noticed you

were the only black one

there who wasn’t part of the staff,

if you knew you were their way to pay


the token.




Deonte Osayande is a former track and field sprinter and writer from Detroit, Michigan. His poems and essays have been nominated for the Best of the Net Anthology, a Pushcart Prize and published in over a dozen different publications. He has been a member of the Detroit National Poetry Slam Team multiple times. He’s currently a professor of English at Wayne County Community College, and teaching youth through the Inside Out Detroit Literary Arts Program.