The first poem I ever wrote about being black

Was about how I feared my hair would not match

with my love for marshmallow toned, Ashton Kutcher look alikes

That she would be a part of me they could never understand

Long then short, then long again 

Curly then straight but long 

and curly then short again

And wrapped up 

And big and flat 

She would be more complicated

than having to explain how black lives mattering,

 does not mean that people do not matter 

The second poem I ever wrote about being black was angry

How I apologized for being angry

 because I did not understand why I was angry 

The third poem I ever wrote about being black 

Spilled out of me faster than I wanted it to

In fact, I did not want it to

I shut my mouth, ignored every hashtag and video and refused to let it tap on my heart strings

I cannot explain to you what it is to be black

I am still trying to understand what it is to be black 

I can only hope that for a moment you do not see that 

You just see human

You just see hurting

You just see feeling

That the discomfort is not to elicit guilt but to invoke change

To start a narrative so unfamiliar to your ears that you can't help but repeat it 

In hopes that it will make sense 

But it will not make sense

Because it is not your narrative

It is only yours to pass along

To keep the thread woven through everyone's stories so that distance

Will not be the reason for ignorance

The fourth poem I ever wrote about being black was this one

And tonight, I sat in a room with people who painted their minorities and oppressions and privilege all on one canvas

We brought the tombstone hashtags into light

And gave them the honor they were due

we talked about things that make us uncomfortable and human

There was no fighting

Only listening

Only love

So the fourth poem I've ever written about being black

Was healing