A Portrait of The Artist As a Young Black Girl (I)

I. ONCE UPON A TIME

She was a lamb before she was a child.

Her sounds not words but bleats,

baa,

baa,

baa.

Her mother laughed,

A rich and vibrant sound,

And before she had a name,

Her mama called her Lamb Chop.

She was tiny, soft and pale and pure,

With long, delicate fingers

That held her mama’s finger tightly.

But like a dalmatian, newly born,

Her spots of black were missing.

“Is she yours?”

The eyes of strangers were wide with shock.

She was too tiny, too light,

To belong to such a brown mama.

Time passed and suspicion rose,

And then, after three weeks it was decided,

She was different.

As if the baby lamb understood,

What this would mean for her,

Or perhaps a higher power intervened,

But in the weeks that followed,

Her pigment arrived,

An unambiguous shade of melted chocolate,

And she became a little black girl.

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