Here we meet at this divide-
Mine / Yours:
A minor inconvenience.
An unquestioned privilege.
I am the colour of my skin
(Yes I am)
(Yes I am)
But there is more to me,
more than this membranous shell I am encased in
We are not just our pigments.
You smudge us into invisibility,
neatly erase away every trace of our own-ness
The colour of our eyes, the length of our hair
The scars, the moles, the laugh lines
Till we are nothing but our yellows, our browns and our blacks.
You don’t see colour, you say
And I agree.
That’s the number of little squares Pantone lets you pick from
The number of colours the human eye can detect, distinguish
That’s the number of shades of pink your wife shuffles through
Before you paint your bathroom door
Only three colours rise to the top of your foggy mind
When you direct your uncoloured gaze at us
But we forgive your selective colour blindness
Your temporary amnesia
Because it is not rational to lug around a 300-page colour guide to parties
Because it is “an honest mistake”.
Because it “doesn’t matter”.
We have learnt
To do no more than simply smile and nod,
Dripping pity, sweet saccharine
-for me or you? unsure, irrelevant-
And swallow the gibes that rise to our throats
With the flimsy consolation of being the ‘bigger person’
But to hell with big-ness,
You overshadow us anyway.
White contains all wavelengths of visible light-
We are but fragmented distortions trailing behind your prism of self-assuredness
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