misfortune 

Nature born

 society trained

Soul forsaken

Truth out of reach

And lies entrenched-

She came clicking into the world

In a low-budget hospital,

True grit-the ingrained esteem

That American prestige and honor demands-

under her yellow skin.

It’s unfortunate, a tragedy

That she came into this world

With a full-head of hair;

Soft and curly and brown-

Without kink but traces of blonde

Streaks; forbidding; a mark;

A future victim-

A formula prescribed,

China made with

Who-knows-we-don’t-ask;

The girl bloomed overnight;

Too fast, too early

As the plastic bag becomes empty.

Summer days of scratched knees

And asking Auntie Simone for an icy-

Were soon replaced with monitors;

Easily accessible and monstrous-

Screen to screen;
Flat-irons and keratin treatments,

Mocking dashikis and saris

Lily-white sneakers every year;

Bemoaning the black stains-

Uncle coughing up black,

Black, black, black

Promising not to smoke anymore-

Fingers crossed…

Curves and soft thighs,

She was an adult with a child’s mind.

“Cover up” they told her

But she loved the looks she received:

morena bonita they called her

But she wanted more;

An object she will become,

No longer interesting and unique,

A standard issue, a girl that we all know

But never love…

We leave that girl to the curb,

Left side on the sidewalk

With eyes that always search but

Never settle-

Ms. Butterworth body

But the mind of a Master’s wife-

They told the girl

She wasn’t black enough;

Black was bad, the murders

Spoke like this;

The rapist cursed like this;

The bandijos dressed like this-

So she learned Spanish

And wore another skin-

Big hooped earrings and

“Que paso” “Ya tú sabes”

Until she was no longer the

Baby with curly hair

Nor the beautiful girl

With an expressive smile and curves-

….

But that was the plan, right?

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