Sin of the Skin

They told me I had bronze skin when I was born

The kind that Egyptian Gods wore

The kind they’d call exotic

And gradually the kind that bore pointed fingers and scrutinising eyes;

It started speaking from pulpits

And parliament houses

But mostly through padlocked bars


I became a symbol

frozen in colour

a rudimentary mass of umber.

Tinctures of brown became definitions

and dents

and defects.


But slowly, they said

This brown changed colour-

Began to look like the child of sunshine and rain

And I was awash in iridescence

And pending acceptance:

Canvased in statement umbrellas

Embossed in aberrations

Framed in exclusionary months of ‘Pride’

that systematically disregard the word’s usage in the present tense.


I thought I was born with skin bathed only in blood

I thought so was everyone.


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