Add mixed messages to your site

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Cousin Sarah

Cousin Sarah

Cousin Sarah was seven
Blonde and blue-eyed
She was the grandchild
Grandma Eleanor wanted
Born fifteen years after
The three babies
She refused to claim

But Sarah was only seven
When she said it
Told her best friend
Her cousin “wasn’t really a bad guy”
Even though I looked black
And all the blacks
On TV “sneak around,
Kill people, and steal
And stuff”

I wasn’t really “a bad guy”
She explained
To her white friend
Not completely
I was only half black
Not really black

Don’t you see?
Her friend preened,
Looked at me closely

Sarah was only seven
I was twenty-two with a physics degree
And a fancy Stanford job
But suddenly I was the master’s
Bastard talking to
My clearly superior
Half-sibling on the plantation

Even a child
Knows the order of things