Black and White

On Boston Common a white girl digs in the sand, swings
with black kids, climbs the bars, and if she looks
long at hair, color and eyes
What
does she think, what does she know?

*

Together a black man, a white woman and her mother enter
a New York art gallery; they separate. The air in one room freezes,
until the white mother returns and hugs the man.
He smiles.
Announces, “I’m a big scary black man.”

*

At JFK a woman waits for the flight from Cameroon, it’s landed;
people and bags emerge. She stares at each, until a girl
with many braids stops, “Mom. It’s me.” Later
they unbraid her hair,
detach extensions; in the kitchen fingers fly as they talk.

*

On a dust road not far from the Great Rift Valley
school children line a stick fence, shout “Mzungu, Mzungu”
at visiting white teachers.
Those outside see
those inside, who see those who see them see them.

 

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