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

oxygen

woman

in all colors

damning the

countenance of zero