Loving My Brown Skin: A Poem

“The Brown Women in Me”

The stories I have read tell me,

that my heritage is something

to be proud of.

the color of my skin

is the resemblance of dirt;

the very foundation of life.

 

ma tells me within this skin

lies all the hardships of all the brown women,

who date back a lifetime.

she tells me wherever I am,

I will find a home.

that will remind me of the dusty villages

where I will find tongues of blade and spice.

But no one has ever told me,

these women in me whose bones ached at the touch

are not welcomed.

 

This land will tell stories

how people like me wear the label

“brown”

as an insult to all the women in me.

Like their shame,

torn from the hem of my dress.

They refuse to tell the stories,

how our mothers have burned their tongues;

so our names are easier to swallow.

 

But I do not care for their words

to validate the color of my skin.

For I am not just my skin,

but every woman within

 

And the stories I write will be my own

Forged from the life of every brown woman known and unknown.

 

Illustration via Melanie Loon

Zhrah (pronounced Zahrah) is a college student from New York City. She hopes to one day publish her own poetry book and travel the world with it.

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