I see you standing there,
with expectations high -
an inferior type of beauty:
dark, callous, with edges rough.
And people tell you you're beautiful
because they know you want to hide
beneath the damp rings of a rock
and be one of the decomposed.
You watch your brother of brown
with eyes of black
glowing in the eyes of the hazel sister
of the blue-eyed angel
of the green-eyed octaroon
and you cringe.
Inside you say to yourself,
Am I not your sister, brother?
Do we not share years and years
Do I not appear like your mother,
and have the same attributes
as your blood sister?
And you touch your hair then,
wondering why it has to be so stiff.
You wonder why
it can't float in the wind
or recover gracefully from a drenching
by the beautiful rain
that falls upon you.
Why can't I enjoy the mist,
Why must I run for cover? you wonder.
Why don't I look like the girl
in the video
with skin like the sun
and hair like the coils
of a freshly stripped ribbon?
I am the brother -
I'm watching you watching me.
And I pass you by for an easier shade of brown,
and a lighter shade of Right,
because I'm just as confused as you are
about what this world thinks I should do.
In the laws of history
I am your brother
you are my sister
but you will never be my lover.
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.