Don’t tell me about race,
Cause I don’t know what it is.
(Allow me to back up.
That was a lie. Biggest one ever told.)
Truth: I had race rubbed into my face
Like shoe shine
Before I was old
Enough to wear shoes.
I knew my skin color soon after I knew my name.
I believed in that lie before I knew how to feel shame.
I promise, I come in peace.
No, I don’t. That’s a lie, too.
I don’t even know what it would mean for that to be true.
I don’t know how to part my lips
Without somehow violating you.
Every act is violent.
Even to remain silent
Is to commit a crime
Against what pleads to be spoken.
But somehow sometimes
The spell is broken.
In your face that I recognize
As the brilliant child who plays behind your eyes.
And for a moment…
We stand dehypnotized.