You a shell,
A sponge to soak up our culture,
An unwanted weed encroaching on our roots.
You taste of nothing.
You taste worse than nothing.
You taste of sugar
You taste of them—
The ones who taught us to hate our skin as much as they did.
You taste of minstrelsy.
You taste of thievery,
Of heritage exhumed and
Men taken from their homeland in ships too small to fit their bones.
White men don’t want you.
Black men don’t want you.
But you just keep claiming your half-life,
Treating your skin with cocoa butter
And talking in large platitudes of oppression unknown to you.
You are a fraud.
Why ain’t you more proud?
Damieka Thomas is a mixed-race writer and poet. She holds a degree in English with an emphasis in Creative Writing and a minor in Education from UC Davis. She currently works as a Librarian Assistant and bookseller. Additionally, she is the cofounder and Public Relations Officer of Mad Mouth Poetry, which is a collective of poets dedicated to creating equitable spaces in poetry. She has been published in Open Ceilings Magazine and Poets.org. She is the recipient of the Celeste Turner Wright Prize for Poetry from The Academy of American Poets and The Diana Lynn Bogart Prize for Fiction from UC Davis. She is applying for MFA programs this Fall and hopes to attend a program next year. In her spare time, Damieka enjoys reading, writing, hiking, yoga, traveling, and indulging in the frequent Netflix binge with her cat by her side. You can find Damieka @damiekat on all social media platforms.