"It Was Written" (2017)

brown skin, black skin,
chocolate thin layer of muscle blessed with melanin
rich in color in a world losing all of its colored to
a darkness reserved for those who are 
too black to live in what’s supposedly
a white man’s world,
in a world filled with people who’ve taught us that
our pigment is a hindrance because they cannot see past it

when i say “us,” i mean anyone who blushes maroon,
anyone who’s ever felt like a drop of chocolate in a sea of white faces
anyone who has struggled to recognize their dark skin as a source of wealth because it is a currency that cannot be exchanged
and no amount of money can liberate you from your own skin
or protect you from the prying hands of a system terrified of their own fear of your skin 
and of what you would do if you realized
        just how much they’ve stolen from people that look 

  like you
like me
like we
are bound by this,

by a history nearly choked out of existence

people are trying to choke us out of existence 
yet here we are, breathing, creating 

and here i stand,
refusing to internalize language that defines me in relation to white men who then offer me tuition to their colleges built on my ancestor’s bones

when i look in the mirror, i cannot say that i know where i’m from.
so don’t ask me where i’m from if you need longitudinal specificity
because then
my answer would be
that I was conceived somewhere between Exploration and Devastation,
that the colonizer and colonized occupy one body, and
that my veins are still entangled in centuries-old conflicts over 

which blood is worth spilling,
which lineage is worth claiming,
which suffering is worth naming

i wonder if ***** is even my name, or if it is but an echo of the selves i could’ve been

my being alive is a result of happenstance 
and sometimes I have to remind myself to breathe while i still can  be this  brownskinned anomaly

a product of both genocide and perseverance

an ongoing story
of resistance

This piece was originally published in Daughters of Violence Zine Issue #1: Bodies Minds Politics Power in 2017.