I stretch out my hands to my lover,
my life — he lifts his wandering eyes
up at me, happy to catch my silhouette
still as the nightlife.
This now is a scary place
to be — we linger on each other’s
tongues, hopeful to create passion
in the pique of all pain.
I know he doesn’t really see me —
he looks past this skin, calls me
his caramel, hot-mama, Georgia-Peach
elite. I am his Upper Echelon under
the covers, undercover — hidden
We keep secrets nestled in the grooves
of our aging skin, collecting them
as we meet another year.
I tell him I’d live in his curls if I could —
a universe of wonder for hair.
He smiles. He loves a good
compliment. His full lips
measure the amount of stress
I’ve stored in my collarbone.
By his hands, relief appears.
I pay him in orgasms.
When we go out, our hands
are at our sides, we stand close
but far — close but away from the
scent of each other’s breath.
We feign tolerance of the
stares that follow us.
I nod and smile — nod and smile,
keep my composure.
He tells me the people in this
neighborhood don’t see color and
I worry even more. How can they
know me if they don’t see me?
I fiddle with my newly broken fingernail
and ignore what he says just
for a moment.
We pass time by walking two blocks —
white picket fences fill my eyes.
Election signs for the Elephant
are markers for miles.
“They don’t see color, huh?”
He is silent. He pulls me closer,
latches on to my hand, and
quickens his pace.
I keep step — keep time, my swollen
heart beats faster as we exit
The depth of our essence — this skin
will not protect us, not even
from the colorblind.
I lay in his thoughts — stir myself
deeper as a mixture of lust, love, and
curiosity. He plucks his brain
for a better view of this world.
There is none.
It saddens him to realize this.
I hug him close to me — I knew
what he didn’t.
I prepared myself for it
before we left the house.
Originally published in The Junction via Medium.
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