Balance

by Angie Fenton

Caramel colored flesh
white mother, black father
Blonde hair,
blue-green eyes,
small, thin nose,
pale, creamy skin
will never be mine.
Dark ebony flesh,
full, sensual lips,
melodic African-inspired name
will never be mine. 
Freshly pressed hair, neither kinky nor bone straight,
worn "too white" black girls say.
My words, my thoughts,
my clothes, my walk
"Sell out!" they scream.
Black girls whose insides are freshly painted white.
They see, they judge, they hate.
African sisters I long to embrace
will never be mine.
White girls snicker, and laugh, and taunt:
"Nigger, nigger."
Iíll never be one of them.
No. Iíll never be one of them.
Mama said Iím beautiful
with my light brown skin, my big brown eyes.
Daddy loved my desire for words,
as I coaxed and coddled and made them mine.
I saw caramel-colored flesh from
White mother, black father
Little nigger sellout girl inside
And tried to force her out, starve her out,
Stick a finger down my throat and vomit her out.
I walked a fine, fine line,
afraid to
step left,
	step right.
I walked that damn fine line, fell off,
and began drawing my own path, deep and thick, in the soil.
Now, I feel rhythms ingrained
as though music dwells in my soul.
I allow summer sun
to deepen the hue of my flesh.
I listen to Kenny Rogers,
meeting up with the Gambler,
Tracy Chapman talkiní Ďbout a revolution,
Ella Fitzgerald watching over me,
Rhapsody on a theme of Paganini, the 18th variation.
And I know words are an art,
taking soft pride in my use
of these instruments of life.
Sweet black-white blood
Pumps strong and fresh and pure,
and I know that Iím proof
peace will surely come
Someday.
(C) Angie Fenton

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