To My Younger Self, I Say

Chocolate girl, love your skin

Amber glow radiates from within

Your blackness, of which others are ashamed

Is your refusal to conform or be the same


Your defiance explodes from the top of your head

Whether in braids, curls or dreads

In every spectacular kink and twist

Lies the audacity to dismiss

Stares from other little black girls

Sitting cross-legged and polite

Yearning to appease

The uptight and white


But don’t you look down on them, Chocolate girl,

They are your sisters

Their survival is audacious enough


Chocolate girl, trust your spine

Don’t be afraid to cry

Each morning, you paint on new skin like tar

Thicker and blacker than yesterday’s by far

And watch their icicle words melt and flow

Like the raindrops on your window


Chocolate girl, stop listening

When they tell you to keep still

It’s so they can cut your wings until

You fit the look of the black girls

They paste on the front of their books


Chocolate girl, I’m sorry

But you aren’t Beyonce or Yara or Malia

The paparazzi aren’t looking for your address

But you are blessed

You are rich and hot and sweet

You are the reaction

When brown sugar and volcanoes meet


Chocolate girl, you will be fine

Trust me, I know

I still have that six-figure shine

The sparkle in the deep pools of my eyes

I am still beautiful, brown, and bittersweet

My work is not yet complete, but

I’m still here


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