The Two of Us
The bars slam shut on a jail cell of brown skin
While you and I watched those who only know our color
To cover their babysitters and security guards at our school.
“So, like, would you ever get with a Black girl?”
While they learned where to buy bras,
and how to make out with braces,
You and I learned to be the highest form of taboo
and the lowest rung of their existence at the same time.
Forcing the idea into their universe,
that we, two barely visible specks on their horizon,
were worthy of their close and careful inspection
was getting the peanut butter unstuck from
between your top lip and your teeth,
but the poison dart was how the answer lay poised on their lips,
resting like orange juice on top of toothpaste.
Hair that refused to lay flat,
skin that glowed brown rather than red after Summer vacation,
You and I were condemned to be a colon:
two black dots on a white page.
visible, but invisible
intriguing, but appalling
gratifying, but perverse.
It was easy for them
to put the boogeyman of Blackness in the corner,
push it under the bed,
where privilege lurked like childhood fears, but
For You and I,
the final breath was taken when the cell was illuminated
and the shadows of hatred could not be transformed to friendly ignorance
because their weapons had already met their mark.