You used to say

“My dear son,

You are like the first

Ray of the morning sunlight

That steals through windows

And opens drowsy eyes.

That light so poignant it conquers the dark.”

You would say again

“You have that aura around you

That aura that makes it hard-work to loathe you.

You mind, pure as white

Has filled your heart with love!”

You would insist,

“You have the heart of a martyr;

Of a man that would die

To let others live.

You know, my son

You are the best thing the world has.”

But that was in our country!


No, maami,

Those people,

The ones that have skin

The color of butter

With long wavy hair

And eyes the color

Of grass or the middle of the ocean

With you, maami, they disagree.

How can I be like sunshine, they say,

When I have tar for skin

Again they say,

The air hovering above me

Smells of gutter and of bush.

The corners of their lips, maami,

Pull down in disgust

When they snort the word ‘ape’

And they force out spit

When they walk past me.

Yes, in their own country.


Why, maami?

Why did you lie to me?

Why did you so make me believe

That I actually meant something?

Perhaps because you wanted,

So direly, to believe it yourself

That this ‘black’ son of yours

With undeveloped fur for hair

Was, in fact, somebody

But let me humor you, maami

I am but NOBODY.

In this foreign country

That you have sent me

I am at the farthest

Bottom of their class.

See, they don’t even look at me.

And when they do

I would recline into an unknown abyss.


Tell me, maami!

Do you not see

That I have failed at everything?

Have you not heard

That a dog has a place over me?

Is not this land

God’s gift to man?

So tell me, maami,

Where is that sunlight?

And that aura you spoke of?

Have they so forsaken me?

Tell me these things, maami,

For I want to know

Exactly what I am!


‘Maami’ means ‘My Mother’


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