The submissions deadline is Friday, February 17, 2023.
When I was a toddler
I did not love
My thick black static hair,
that fell straight on top my shoulders
which I thought sure could not compare
while they tossed their light locks
and fluffed out their braids
they told me My strands were coarse,
unlike theirs that easily frayed.
I wished My eyes were not dark and black
like murky tainted water,
far different from the crystal ocean that I had always admired.
My skin was tinted with different hues,
not like theirs that shone and glowed
I wanted to be like them, I thought only then would I feel at home.
Everywhere I went I said
when I grow up I’ll be a blonde,
eager and excited about a magical fairy wand
to turn my hair soft and wavy
forgetting all My shades of dark navy.
to add platinum highlights at the tips of my curls
that would wind down my back in delicate swirls.
I wanted the bright color trails that curved in their eyes
and a noticeable pupil that couldn’t be disguised.
I said I wanted to dye my eyes
with a mix of green and blue,
because only then could I say my eyes are turquoise too.
But through all these years
it’s in this skin I have grown.
It has been My thick black hair
that cushioned every fall,
it has been these eyes
that were My windows to understanding it all.
And even though it took some time
now I finally see,
My black diamond eyes can sparkle just as bright
as any of yours can be.
Hong Kong, China
Counting by 7s by Holly Goldberg Sloan
I hope for a future where people are not looked at differently because of how they identify.
Both my amazing and hard-working parents!