guy-bourdin-three-color.jpglook at her pale face she looks half dead
bet you could get off school pretending to be sick any day
yeah she could
and she did
going home on the bus wearing tights in summer
girls with blue souls
born in the wrong continent or era
where pallor was detested even by racists
dark skin purchased by the half hour
slapped on and smoothed over the counter
where she couldn’t make herself sun-kissed for all the tea in china
even if the tea were orange pekoe
where she wasn’t able to change who she was except in the dark
in the dark she was a wolf with sisters
outrunning the easy cloaks of shame
ridicule on the street like they all had the same script
sometimes she’d say something in return but the stinger was already in
tight venom digging up her roots and the foundation she built
she hated her reflection so she smashed all her mirrors
until a soul with her reflection in their eyes told her
they got it wrong
just as the little brown girl was cursed
for they said she was too dark
just as the little black girl was scorned
for they said her nose was too wide
just as the little coffee girl was bullied
to straighten her kinky hair
they got it so wrong the judges of nothing
she’s just like her all sisters
they share her hurt and scars
girls who don’t need to hate others for
fashionable causes and empty cat calls
she will let them ward off the sun
and bursting through
become the center of
a female endowed fuselage
liquid hydrogen
in all colors
damning the
countenance of zero

0 Replies to “Countenance of zero”

  1. “Until a soul with her reflection”….one poem I wrote included ” cracked mirror reflection of my life”. I love how you place soul and reflection in the same verse….and again give us more to meditate on and think about. Thank you for sharing your gifts!

  2. Fantastic! #GirlPower
    I wish I’d known you back then because I would have told you how beautiful you were, and that would have included the pale skin!!

    1. Honestly I agree, the more we could have stood together instead of apart, it would have helped. As a kid most of us rely upon men to form the image of ourselves, since my father told me I was ugly that was the image I formed. I’m not saying this for ‘pity’ at all but matter-of-fact, we learn from what we are given, it takes a very strong or independent soul to break from that and have self-worth/belief without that validation or inspite of the contrary. I wasn’t strong enough, I took on the image he had of me, and I know that was weak and I am always glad when I see young women deny the image of themselves others hold.

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