So before you ask, no,
I have never felt
the burn of the sun
beating down on me in the cotton fields
like the harsh crack of a whip
and no,
I have never seen
a mother and child shot down
because their blistered feet
could blaze the trail of tears no further
and no,
I have never lain
in the bottom of a cold dark boat
with six hundreds other slaves
surrounded by the stench of the most private bodily functions
and no,
I have never been
stared down with hatred
while flying from California to Washington D.C.
because I wear a turban
and happen to have facial hair
and no,
I have never cried
my eyes and heart out
because they told me my mother was
taking a shower
when hydrogen cyanide was really filling her lungs
and no,
I have never been
forced to stand up and say
the pledge of allegiance when the country I proclaim allegiance to
is the very country that hated and imprisoned me
even though I did nothing to deserve it
I have felt
immense amount of pain in my life
and I have had
my fair share of struggles
and I have fought
for a cause that I believe in
and I have cried
because the blisters on my feet from recess are enormous and bloody
and I have loved
someone so much that it makes me dizzy
and I have wanted
to feel like it doesn’t matter what my people did to yours in ages past
because this is the here and now
and I know
that your people’s struggles are not going anywhere
and I know
that if we forget our history, we are doomed to repeat it
and I know
that people will never judge me for the color of my skin
but I also know
that everybody hurts
and I also know
that we need to take comfort in each other
because this is the here and now
and if we can’t stop blaming each other for the differences of our past
then how is this any different from before?
I only want to ask that you
hear me out.
don’t just remember your history.
make it.