Countenance of zero

guy-bourdin-three-color.jpglook at her pale face she looks half dead

bet you could get off school pretending to be sick any day

yeah she could

and she did

going home on the bus wearing tights in summer

girls with blue souls

born in the wrong continent or era

where pallor was detested even by racists

dark skin purchased by the half hour

slapped on and smoothed over the counter

where she couldn’t make herself sun-kissed for all the tea in china

even if the tea were orange pekoe

where she wasn’t able to change who she was except in the dark

in the dark she was a wolf with sisters

outrunning the easy cloaks of shame

ridicule on the street like they all had the same script

sometimes she’d say something in return but the stinger was already in

tight venom digging up her roots and the foundation she built

she hated her reflection so she smashed all her mirrors

until a soul with her reflection in their eyes told her

they got it wrong

just as the little brown girl was cursed

for they said she was too dark

just as the little black girl was scorned

for they said her nose was too wide

just as the little coffee girl was bullied

to straighten her kinky hair

they got it so wrong the judges of nothing

she’s just like her all sisters

they share her hurt and scars

girls who don’t need to hate others for

fashionable causes and empty cat calls

she will let them ward off the sun

and bursting through

become the center of

a female endowed fuselage

liquid hydrogen



in all colors

damning the

countenance of zero



21 thoughts on “Countenance of zero

  1. “Until a soul with her reflection”….one poem I wrote included ” cracked mirror reflection of my life”. I love how you place soul and reflection in the same verse….and again give us more to meditate on and think about. Thank you for sharing your gifts!

  2. So much emotion in each word that combined make such exquisite piece of art. Marvelous Candice, marvelous.

  3. I would have traded you when I was young. Now I know how to handle it and I like my hair but it was a long time coming! 😀❤

  4. Fantastic! #GirlPower
    I wish I’d known you back then because I would have told you how beautiful you were, and that would have included the pale skin!!

  5. Honestly I agree, the more we could have stood together instead of apart, it would have helped. As a kid most of us rely upon men to form the image of ourselves, since my father told me I was ugly that was the image I formed. I’m not saying this for ‘pity’ at all but matter-of-fact, we learn from what we are given, it takes a very strong or independent soul to break from that and have self-worth/belief without that validation or inspite of the contrary. I wasn’t strong enough, I took on the image he had of me, and I know that was weak and I am always glad when I see young women deny the image of themselves others hold.

Comments are closed.