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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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