Three fair-skinned
blonde-haired girls
Huddle around a desk
One whispers: “I wish I was black”
Loud enough for me to hear
My poor heart leaps
At the thought of it
does she really? I think.
“You do?” One girl echoes.
“Nah- I’m just kidding,” she says
And they all burst with laughter

That’s what I remember
From the third grade.

I remember the rocks
That met my skin
When I went across the street
To play with two white boys
I hadn’t yet met

I remember the fear
In my mother’s eyes
As I laid on the couch
Concussed after being hit
In the head with a tree limb

I remember insisting on her silence.
Insisting that it was an accident.

But was it an accident?
As the three of us
Two white
One black
Stood by the pond
Swaying sticks
And feeding fish
A force so hard
It knocked me off
My feet and sent me
As they searched
For frozen peas
And I fought
To stay awake

When I was a child
The hate I had for myself
(Because hating myself was easier)
Ran so deep I cursed god
For thinking of the creation
That was me.

I walk for the fallen
And I walk for the girl
So beaten down
She wondered why
She was even created