Friday, June 19, 2015

My Skin

My skin is soft
It is warm and silky
It is familiar and comfortable
It has speckles, freckles, spots
That are unique to me.
It has kept me together for years now
It has embraced eight babies
without a single mark
It has healed over every wound
It is supple and smooth
It is the only skin I have ever known
I am impressed and amazed
at the things my skin can do.

My skin is white
It has no olive, no red, no brown
It turns red in the sun
and, if I am lucky,
it holds some gold for a few weeks
But always, always
it returns to this pale white color.

I always loved golden skin,
tan skin, brown skin, creamy coffee-color skin.
As a teenager I marveled at the rainbow colors of skin.
I felt enchanted by the darkness it could reach
I wondered how the sun felt when it wasn't burning you
I wanted another skin.
It intrigued me, but always, always I came back to
my white skin.

I have learned to love this white skin
I have learned to smile at the tan girls
(at the wrinkles and cancer they will have)
And I protect this white skin.
I am comfortable in this skin of mine
It has served me well.
And I have learned not to wish it away
I love this skin.

My white skin.  I didn't know...
It is a key to a secret club above suspicion
It is a password to the gate of opportunity
It is a blessing I never could see
This pale, white skin
This skin that I have always had
That keeps me warm, that feels so soft
This skin has kept me safe
from prejudice, from hate, from fear.
This skin has let me in to places
only reserved for those like me.
My skin that I love.
My skin that protects me
in ways I never saw before.

My white skin
It is a pass, a weapon, a defense
I have escaped suspicion, hate,
discrimination, and fear
I have walked in ways that many can't
I have done this all unknowingly
I didn't know.
I didn't know.
I DIDN'T KNOW!

My skin.
Is it wrong to say I love my skin?
My white skin?
That I love what it has done for me?
That I am grateful for my opportunities?
Can I love my white skin...
and still love your brown skin?
Can I love what it has given me...
even as I loathe what it has given you?
Or must I hate this skin?
This beautiful, white skin?
My white skin.
My skin that holds all that I am.
MY skin.

em


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