Through The Holes

 

A nail.

I didn’t know what it was until

you told me of its deepest

flesh, its deepest

intentions.

 

I remember squirming

out of place

in an overly-lighted place

fake—full of sinners

and saints.

 

You and I lived here, in

the basement.

Sunday morning

parades of people

playing charades as

happier people would

gather and sing and

shout and pray and

weep and laugh and

sometimes change.

 

I’ve always wanted to run.

 

But you were my

strength. You labored

mighty and onward as you

fed and clothed and

bathed and

saved me in

the kitchen sink, next

to the coffee machine.

 

I somehow knew then

as I do now:

people break

other people.

 

I was born into

a home with races and

bitterness and

secrets and

storms.

 

But you were always

a gentle peace.

 

I felt filthy and

unclean in

a basement underneath

the feet of people with

silver seeping out

their pockets and

the sun scorning their creamy

pale skin.

 

I didn’t comprehend it all, but you—

I trusted you, so told you. And

you cried and

held me warm, rocked me slowly, back and

forth, a four year old in

mother’s arms.

 

And that was when

you told me of a man

with nails driven deep into

brown aching skin just

like mine. Hurt that I

had felt, pain like I had

seen in your brows.

But deeper.

 

“And even though

white people are rich

and black people are rough

we the same

through the holes in

his skin, baby. Always

remember: we all

the same.”

 

And even though you’ve

lost some of the youthful resilience, and

I don’t hold the man

you taught me of

in such high esteem

 

I will never forget

what it means to be

human. I never forget

brown skin

and white skin and

blood and

holes and

nails.