What happens to all the brown-skinned girls?
Sitting on the stoop waiting for the ice cream man to come
20 plats in their hair
Turning the double dutch rope
Sitting in the middle of the classroom
You know, that one girl . . . what’s her name?
ponytails neither pony nor tail
Who aren’t allowed to wear their hair down
or sport Brand X Jeans
Who can’t wash that Diaspora right out of their hair
or erase their royal heritage
The ones that pop their gum the loudest
Run the fastest
Fight the hardest
Dream the most
Ones who don’t wear pants and go to church all day Sunday
or slide into their short skirts on the way to school
Who are picked first for the team
or never picked at all . . .
Girls - who don’t have time to hang out ‘cause they “gotta go to work!”
for their new dress
or in their old car
to pay the light bill that momma “forgot”
Girls who roll their neck
and their eyes
their hair and their hips
to the rhythms of the Congo, Bronx, or the Swats
Girls who sing in the mirror as they glue, braid and towel on that
long . . . wavy . . . hair
Who, “hate that stupid light-skinded girl” because
“she thinks she’s so cute”
or hate themselves because they think so too . . .
Some may have never had him hold their hand
call them beautiful
take them to the father/daughter dance
come to their rescue . . .
See he was
in jail/out of town/in denial/out of time
to forego all the love that just one little brown-skinned girl has to give
Girls. Not little Halle, Beyonce, or J Lo
But young Angela, Carol, Michelle, and Alek
Those awe-inspiring girls who don’t yet know
that they are
enchanting . . .
Who don’t see themselves
On movie screens - in magazines
The eyes of the world, little boys
Who buys them a bomb pop when the ice cream man comes?
Tastes the sweet undertones buried in dark chocolate
Loves them for themselves
Who loves them