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)

Published by Sunshine

Sunny Scape is a safe space for Black women and queer folks. I am committed to eradicating intersecting systems of oppression that overwhelmingly affect people like myself, and doing so in a way that centers the most marginalized of us. That means that I am an activist on behalf of Black and brown queer and trans folks, children, sex workers, disabled folks, people of low socioeconomic status, currently and formerly imprisoned people, and countless others who are pushed to the back burners and relegated to second-class citizenship. This blog and everything within it is absolutely inseparable from the liberation efforts of all the aforementioned groups of people.

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