There could not be a more fitting preamble to this entry than the words that accompanied it in an email to me:
I find myself looking
for the red in my hair.
Gifted from my mother, blue
eyes like the Texas sky.
Most days it’s just brown, brown, brown.
Sometimes like ditchwater
Sometimes like warm summer nights
And good rich earth.
Like hate and love muddied together.
It’s an inherited thing, this brown.
Passed on by my father, green
card in hand and hair Kurosawa dark
Red slinks and hides in sly places,
refusing to sit and be named.
I catch it out of the corner of my eye.
Black is the first thing a person sees, they think
Ah, there is no confusion here.
At first glance I fit the mold they shape for me.
But it’s a trick, a racial sleight of hand.
Their double take puts a question mark where a person stands.
Between mother red and father black
brown is the compromise.
Some days the brown swallows.
Too much and yet not enough.
Some days it is an impossible burden to bear.
But some days I braid and wear it like a crown,
wrapped in a halo of me and my
One thought on “A Olympic gold-medalist entry to Essential Americans Anthology”
Beautiful, Aya! You are perfect!