Birthright

 

Slicing the knot of the ancestors
Diving through the heavens
He came.
Headfirst, warm-wet, amphibian,
He slithered into the light
Sleek with both our blood.

My familiar passenger transformed
into this stranger.
Look at your beautiful boy, they said
and I stared
while he thrashed on my chest.

My son is white.
The white of milkmaids and marble
The righteous white
that robbed his grandfather’s freedom.
(Go Home Chink
Stick to your own kind).

My breast under the creamy curl of his fist
is brown as a peasant.

I scan his navy eyes, his nutmeg hair
Searching for a mirror
for a memory,
a lineage.
But his naked gaze
is utterly strange.
He does not see the shadows behind me.

This child who has come to us
He lays his hand on my breast
like a blessing.
In the quiet of the night
he snores.
He is all his own.

What my father passed on to me
I pass on to him, diluted.
So much, so little.
Genes, rearing, ancestry, name.
A few rags only
They barely clothe the dawnlight
of his soul.

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