I have often wondered whether there is any beauty to be found
in the midst of feelings such as these:
I wonder whether they deserve recognition within poetry,
such a sacred and comforting place.
But then I think if these feelings deserve
a spotlight anywhere, surely
it is in the lines of a poem where
one might read of them and find they are not alone.
I wonder whether what I feel and therefore
what I write is not for this space.
It feels as though I have ventured into the land of taboos
speaking of my brown skin.
And how I burnt my hair trying to make it soft
and fine and shiny, silky smooth.
How I wanted to be without any curves at all,
just like the tall, ruby lipped, willowy girls
I called friends in school.
How I wanted to be pale and be described in pretty ways
such as fair and porcelain.
I have often wondered whether my story of life
deserves space in a place like this- in poetry.
Can I write of being eight and the date of my birthday
already being insignificant because what mattered more was whether
or not I would have food the next day?
Can I write of how my hair was matted with knots and my
clothes never fit me because they were someone else’s first?
Can I write of being eight and already knowing what it is to
be weary of soul and constantly dreaming of better days?
Can I write of these brutal, ugly, horrific things?
I think, as I needed
and Toni Morrison
and Audre Lorde
and Gwendolyn Brooks
and of course Phillis Wheatley-
perhaps others need me too?