Who Am I?

Why am I confused?
Ashamed by the color of my skin. To be
dark skinned is a curse, to be white is to
desired. Longing for physical acceptance,
an illusion or a wishful reality?

A dress sewn of scrap material, a white
woman's donation to those less fortunate.
Slapped with poverty, riches I will never
endure. Anxiety, envy, rage, to be powder
white, privileged, I'm suffocating.

Legs slathered with Vaseline, melting
from the suns warmth. Burning like hot wax
as it seeps down shaky calves. Old women
laughing, heathens they are, as they cackle
at crumpled ruffles of a hand-me-down dress.

Voices echo in my head as loud as droplets
in a cave. Run, escape who I am; defined by
black skin, ugly with fear, in denial of who I will
become. A mind silently screaming in fear
of an unknown future.
2021

This poem was written in reference to the childhood of Maya Angelou.

Who Am I?