Why I Smiled

It was the look I’ve always known
That stripped me live and whole
As if I were not flesh and blood
Or temple of a soul

That clearly said t’was my dark skin
Which granted him the right
To perpetrate a timeless sin
As black as he was white

And it was then I understood
Racism’s painful sting
How even from the womb I could
Inspirit such a thing

So plain to see in whole or part
As clear when in disguise
For I watched it overtake his heart
While looking in his eyes

Yet somehow I knew I would die
If I did not fight it
And for love of self I had to try
To love him too despite it

c.1981 – After an encounter with a stranger on a train

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