Marginal Woman

growing up i learned two sides to everything
right wrong good evil should shouldn’t your way my way
love-&-acceptance fear-&-hate everything black-&-white
and marginal me a foot in each world
the devil’s advocate scaling both sides
tell her it’s black and she’ll say white my mother would say
what i saw was so much gray

cocooned that way in a world so light we all
just might disappear in a good winter’s snow
not a single black-skinned person
not then-and when they arrived my father (a product of his generation) declared
interracial relationships were not right black should not mix with white
i asked him what degree of dark complexion is the cut off line

half serb one-quarter french one-quarter ojibwa
mistaken for greek, italian, latino and
when summer tanned mulatto too (that was the word they used)
i am only the second born generation with feet on this land
i do not know the blood that ran in the veins of my people centuries ago
but I see all the shades of my skin and i know

fear and hate divide us across a parted sea of color
your side my side a chasm wrought
over what ought to be
while violence rains down and I wonder
can no one else see the philistines
working both crowds
waiting for us all to drown
in a river of blood
that runs
all the same

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