This poem was originally published on November 4, 2017.

The Brown Women in Me

The stories I have read tell me,
that my heritage is something
to be proud of.
the color of my skin
is the resemblance of dirt;
the very foundation of life.

ma tells me within this skin
lies all the hardships of all the brown women,
who date back a lifetime.
she tells me wherever I am,
I will find a home.
that will remind me of the dusty villages
where I will find tongues of blade and spice.
But no one has ever told me,
these women in me whose bones ached at the touch
are not welcomed.

This land will tell stories
how people like me wear the label
as an insult to all the women in me.
Like their shame,
torn from the hem of my dress.
They refuse to tell the stories,
how our mothers have burned their tongues;
so our names are easier to swallow.

But I do not care for their words
to validate the color of my skin.
For I am not just my skin,
but every woman within

And the stories I write will be my own
Forged from the life of every brown woman known and unknown.

Illustration via Melanie Loon



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