White Girl’s Tears

Hands won’t come clean.
My salt isn’t functionally abrasive.

Too bloody
Too dirty
Too much privileged earth
To disappear myself.

Rubbing, working flesh with
Tired fingers, worrying skin.

Nails cracked and breaking, I’m
Deficient, thin.

Pale, freckled digits
Scrape young wrinkles.

Tearing at this husk.

I knew my mother’s hands
Would appear someday.
Driven to reverse the stain.

Meaty palms, fat.
Scrubbing, hoping it’s not too late.
Cracked hard, splintering,
Tiny fractures radiate.

Bloody now, bloody before.
Frantically knowing what I knew, and more.

Smoky dusty earth, under nails.
Generations of bitter choking
Forced through a thousand lungs.
Lodged in my skin.
“I can’t breathe,” He said


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