Poem: “Mahogany”

October 8, 2015

Who decided to call us “black and white”?
When I look at my skin,
I don’t see black,
I see brown.

Brown. Like the color of sand,
a brilliant tan that needs no sun.
Brown, like the mahogany tree bark,
grounded in the summer,
whose green leaves make the transition into fall,
coffee-stained by the autumn’s cool breeze.

Who decided to call us “black and white”?
When I look at my wife,
I don’t see white,
I see brown.
Just a lighter shade
than mine.

Brown is the cinnamon
that colors her iris.
Brown are the arms
that wrap around me
during a bronze sunset.
Brown are the layered bricks
of our home’s
foundation.

Who decided to call us “black and white”?
When I look at all of you,
I see shades of brown.
A sea of one color.
Ripples of love
floating along a sea change.

There are so many words used to divide us.
To fool us into seeing ourselves
through foggy lenses.

We are more
than a box-checked statistic,
we are more
than a census.

I am not black
or white.

I am awake.