White Paths by Car’ynn Sims (Vol. 6 2017)

I was born in Pasadena in

1997. The youngest of 3,

I was bound to be spoiled and

coiled to tick in the right 

direction. That is the path

carved by those ahead,

decisions brought before

the questions. (well, don’t

they know I got my own

knife? And a thinker just as

sharp?)—still I was raised

in the white, nuh-uh I mean,

right light, and my momma

would be proud. My hair

was silky soft and down to

my ass, with a lovely

bounce and sheen like

glass. I spoke with the

diction of an Oreo. (Or was it a Dalmatia?) So

polished there were mo

chips that could expose the

Black beneath. Double,

triple coat, just to be safe.

This way, when I walked in the room it would be my

mind they held me by,

without the distraction of

my cocoa hue.

 

Once they knew, it’d be too

much too forget. Surely a

thing I’d learn to regret, if I

find myself screaming “I

know my rights,” only to

have them taken from me.

It is wiser to know nothing

—to be blind to the

massacre and step over the

cadavers, so that I may not

be thought weak for weeping a

tear for my lost brother.

Or father.

Or sister.

Or mother.

Pass me a handkerchief, so I

may wipe the blood from

the soles of my feet.

 

I have been steered in the

right direction.

 

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