Poem: Placeholder for Home

Placeholder for Home

I am brown skin beautiful
full dark hair
mothering roundness
ambiguously ethnic
and this place we live
snowed in
so they come to me
waiting for the bus
riding the train
passing on the street
they come
brown-skinned hands ready to embrace
eyes asking if I am
what they are

Native Hawai’ians ask
if I’m from Hawai’i
folks from India ask
if I too am Indian
I get a familiar nod
from Indigenous people
strangers try to speak Farsi to me
or Spanish
or Brazilian Portuguese

always I must shake my head
I am not the song they yearn for
my skin has not seen the same sun
my feet does not carry the dust of their roads
the colonizer’s language lies heavy on my tongue
they look for
a piece of their homeland in my face
disappointed each time I cannot be
a placeholder for home

An earlier version of this piece appeared in the anthology Sparrow’s Trill: Writers respond to the Charleston Shooting, which was published by Minerva Rising Press in 2015.

Click here to read this poem on Steemit.

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Top Ten Tuesday: Books To Read This Fall

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday is ten books that are on my autumn to-read list.

In addition to the books for my classes, I want to read the following in the next three months:

  • Breaking Chains: Slavery on Trial in the Oregon Territory by Gregory Nokes
  • Beloved by Toni Morrison
  • Kindred by Octavia Butler
  • Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe
  • Undersong by Audre Lorde
  • Another America: The Politics of Race and Blame by Kofi Buenor Hadjor (currently on pg 109 of 219)
  • The Guardians: An Elegy by Sarah Manguso (at my partner’s recommendation)
  • Shadow and Act by Ralph Ellison
  • And We Are Not Saved by Derrick Bell
  • The Black Count: Glory, Revolution, Betrayal, and the Real Count of Monte Cristo by Tom Reiss

It’s a bit heavy on recreational reading that is closely related to my major, but that’s because my major is awesome.