What I Want You to Know

I have never had poison ivy. I didn’t spill flour all over my legs. The only birthmark I am aware of is underneath my left breast. My skin has been burned because I don’t like the touch of sunscreen grease. No, I haven’t been painting recently.

Do you remember when she told me she wouldn’t be my friend because I looked like Michael Jackson? I do. Were you there when the young boy walked past me at the pool and exclaimed my legs were disgusting?

I used to see you sipping sugar through red and yellow straws. I have felt your eyes. I looked forward, and sometimes I looked at the ground because it was there I felt safe in the cracks of the cement. My heart would linger and wonder what you saw. But I knew and kept it to myself.

I had to learn what the word ‘pigment’ meant. I was starting to grow into my body and was immediately interrupted. Clothing became another hurdle, especially shorts. They were complicated and made me nervous. If only I would buy boxes full of khaki colored Band-Aids. I would apply them to my legs. That way I could look more like you.

I want you to know I have learned to let go of your eyelids and glass reflecting stares. There are stories underneath this skin I feel beginning to touch the surface. Please let them be more than what can be seen below the hem of my skirt.


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