Sometimes I hold my breath
watching my little girl
be free in the world.
And I wish I could remember
a time when I was.
And I wonder when
will it happen to her?
The first time
someone gives her the stank eye
for nothing more than her melanin.
It will happen.
I hold my breath
I wonder when?
Ntozake said it best in For Colored Girls,
“Ever since I realized there was someone called a colored girl,
or an evil woman, a bitch, or a nag,
I’ve been trying not to be that,
and leave bitterness in someone else’s cup.”
But lately even sweet tea
tastes like bitterness to me.
And I’m at a complete loss
on how to build my
strong enough that she can’t be broken
but not too strong
that her very existence is a challenge
to those who would
It’s a conundrum with no solution I can see.
And I can’t even exhale fully.
I can’t breathe
Sometimes I hold my breath.