Race Poem in Three Parts
I was picking up trash at this small park
near Fort Totten and a tiny kid asked me
â€œWhy you want to be white?â€Â Like I had a choice.
Iâ€™m at a reading and two 20-something
sistahs sit down beside me with an infant.
The little boyâ€™s asleep until mom removes
his hat and booties. He wakes slowly, blinks,
looks around, and his eyes settle on me.
His scream is so loudâ€”a blood curdling
turn out the lights the partyâ€™s over lamentation
I must have bumped my head off the ceiling
several times it was so unexpected.
I guess he didnâ€™t see many white people
in his day-to-day existence.Â He quiets down
eventually and before the reading is over
heâ€™s sneaking peeks at meâ€”exotic
specimen that I amâ€”a DC poet in Philly.
Eventually he tries to pull up on my legs,
tries to maintain hisÂ top-heavy balance.
â€œHe likes your shirt,â€ the young mom says.
And he sticks his perfect tiny palm
out and grabs a hold of my blue and white
Hawaiian shirt.Â His eyes glowing
in a eureka moment.
â€œI didnâ€™t ask to be born this way,â€ I said.
Trying just as hard as this tiny kid
to understand differences.