For Simone (Poem)

Simone

Racism

Feels like acid burning your skin

causing tears deep enough to swim in

Just for swimming

they drowned their all-white pools

Told us we didn’t belong

But you tell her all lives matter

You tell her

black girls worry about hair more than heritage

You tell her

Black Girl Magic is waterproof

You tell her everything but the truth.

Racism

is an ocean of impressionable young girls

swimming through brown bag tests

trying to find a part of themselves to be sure of

It’s a mother

being the anchor

to a society that disowns her

That shows her appreciation through appropriation

and thanks her by killing her in front of her five-year old son

Strength

is being forced to swim upstream

for the right to dream the same way others expect to

It’s breaking records in order to be loved as other demand to be

It’s going lap after lap

without rest

with the pain

without respect

with the cries

without ovations

Still, she moves

Forward

Further

Faster

Navigating rough waters because she’s not built for failure

She endures

Remembering those who came before her

Pushing forward with each stroke

Kicking down doors as water betwixt her feet

Suffering onward

Until her golden dreams are reality


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