Coincidentally, I am a black girl
who is not black enough unless
the sky gets cloudy
and I become the white girl’s shadow.
She says I talk like her.
Funny how when you’re
born into a system that oppresses you
you pick up the accent of your oppressors.
It’s impressive, isn’t it?
How if you close your eyes
you can’t tell the difference.
I am a black girl who doesn’t “talk black”
and by that she means I don’t talk back.
I use full sentences and proper grammar
because hell if I’ll be caught by
the grammar police.
You won’t catch me trippin.
I walk straight, shoulders back,
and balance books on my head
to get the knowledge back.
Let me tell you, there aren’t
hieroglyphics in Rome for no reason.
Black people are strong.
They build pyramids and revolutions,
both from the ground up.
And when people tore us down
just to hang us
In 1882 black people became strange fruit
and best believe they learned how to
That was the first year
an Olympic gold medalist was black.
We adapt to our circumstances.
When people ask
why the chicken crossed the road
we say, “to get to the other side!
Because people were looking back
at him a lot to check if he was still there
and then walking really fast
to get away from him and that made him
My brother crosses the street
so people aren’t uncomfortable,
when he has been uncomfortable
all his life. Always trying to get home
but getting caught in stares that say
“this is his grand plan to rob me!”
He’s just coming home for taco night.
For some reason,
he is always black enough.
And I am just his sister
sick of the same old excuses,
just praying that next year is
the year of no funerals in my family
and my neighborhood
and nobody we know
Coincidentally, I am a black girl who
doesn’t know a nobody yet.
I know too many names of too many dead.
So I stay cautious
and always buy something
at the convenience store to prove
I’m not stealing.
Try not to look suspicious
when you’re innocent.
Throw away your Nerf guns.
Keep your hands where the whole world
can see them
because one wrong move is all it takes
when a bullet doesn’t care
how black you are.