Tuesday, November 23

I See You

I’ve had some strange dreams recently. A couple could become stories and maybe more than stories. We’ll see. But one is particularly haunting and it has led to a poem. 



I see you. 
I see your coffee-colored eyes, the rich darkness of your skin.

I see you.
I see your dark almost black brown eyes, maybe the color of a dark chocolate and wonder why someone ever thought your skin should be labeled yellow.

I see you.
I see your sharp jawline, your flat nose, your high cheekbones, your full lips, your round face. All the features that quite literally show me who you are.

I see the laughter in your eyes and hear your joy, even your sadness, as you sing and dance your culture.

I see you.
I see how your food expresses your culture and enhances not only what I can see but what I can taste and smell.

I see you.
I see how your history with its stories that shaped you, the good ones, the bad ones, the horrifying ones, the jubilant ones.

I hear you.
I hear the round vowels, the unusual consonant sounds, the lilt and rhythm and sing song of that language that was voiced by your ancestors.

I see and hear and taste how your culture—your songs, your dances, and your food—have shaped and informed my culture, our cultures.

I see and hear how your stories become my stories when I am willing to hear them all, the cry and laugh and celebrate as your stories become intertwined with mine.

I know that my story is not just my story.

My story reaches back to my mother and father, to their mothers and fathers, and to the generations before them.

And just as their stories were touched by every other human story that touched their own, my story includes all of those thousands of stories and your story and the stories of your mother and father and aunts and uncles and their mothers and fathers and so on back and back and back and back.

I know that my story did not start here, but started long before in a land far from what we call the United States and with people who looked not like me but with coffee- or chocolate-colored eyes and skin the color of honey.

I hear you.

I see you.

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