The color of me is mine

This is a “Poem of the Day” feature piece

I wear black in a new way
That dips at the hips
And widens near the belly
Exploding near the chest
To make room for a reddened heart
It seems almost inseparable from my frame
Like leather around strong flesh
That when it so chooses
Sags off my limbs
So that I am a cloaked and
Shadowy vacuum of myself
Black looks good on my hands
Pricked by the ends of sewing needles
And even better between my legs
A rock pulled from the middle of a deep river
Wet like I get some time
Growing a mossy cover
To shield all this blackness when I need to turtle
Away and hide behind my shell
Of a Negro woman
I deserve the dark in between my cheeks
And the light on my palms and soles
Earned it when I popped out wailing from my mama’s center
And tore my way through my terrible twos
Then grew up into a little girl harassed between the stacks of
A public library, the mechanical doors of a Metro bus, and
The unfamiliar streets of her hometown
Assaulted on the train platform by a man
Who’d seemingly never heard no
I reaped the sorrow benefits of my slick skin
Every time the letters of my name took on a new shape
In the mouth of some white man or woman who never learned
The ins and outs of that section of the English language
When I became a vernacular dialect
A sub-culture
Coals and coffees took up my body like blood and air
I took the black from my mama and my daddy
Like a badge that bore my name before it was ever divined
I took and kept it

© Ama Akoto (2018)

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