This blackness is torn,
Not off, Lord knows how I’ve tried.
Standing naked in the bathroom,
Aged six, seven, eight, twelve, twenty-five,
Washcloth in hand, scrubbing,
Vigorously scrubbing trying to wash
This dirt from my skin.
This blackness from my skin.
Convinced it must come off, my
Family is white as snow and aren’t
The palms of my hands and soles
Of my feet proof ? White.
Occasionally I scrub a little harder,
Scratch a little deeper when I am feeling
Especially tired. But it doesn’t come off.
Your whiteness mocks me.
Do not misunderstand me, yes
There was a time when I envied your whiteness,
That time has passed.
No, what I hope to gain from this
Vigorous scrubbing is not whiteness, but
Peace. Justice. Just a taste, a nibble.
When I get tired, I cannot give up,
Because this Blackness does not wear off.
Appreciation is not the right word.
I do not appreciate your support
I do not appreciate your involvement.
I do however, welcome it.
I revel in it. I find power and strength in it.
But for how long?
I am jaded, you see.
And I know you will get tired.
The ink on your signs will run,
The fire in your bellies will turn to ash,
Your voices will become hoarse,
Your friends will tire of your call for justice.
There is no blackness on your skin.
You have nothing to wash off.
You can close your doors,
Fold your hands in your lap,
Congratulate yourself on a job well done.
Maybe in a few months,
You will take up the cause once again.
But for me? My brothers, my sisters?
This Blackness does not wear off.