Dark Not that you are, you’re some other shade.

Not that you are.
You’re some other shade,
haunting psyches
lurking in limbs.
Both poltergeist and zeitgeist:

“…[M]ore likely to be denied credit to buy a home…”
“One year or more for non-violent drug offences…”
“Fleeing man shot in back.”

Palm nuts on the tray say you’re from the past.
Maybe even before the ships,
but definitely after.
Then, you were left outside the ring
room only for light brown girls:
sha la la la la la la
Show me you can hold back furious tides
from the sea of yourself,
beach desire
to make entire cities comfortable.
The women, especially, sleep sound at night,
while their men take brown girls apart
to see how they’re made.
Wash their stickiness
from hands of metal
that are sceptres,
rudders for new boats,
where you’re now free to walk around.
Rough currents churn your stomach
but you can’t vomit overboard.
The sour taste tears your throat,
lines and twists your face
into the smile you parade
to look like you’re happy
to swallow whatever’s in your mouth.
Strolling along the deck,
you keep to the shade
to prevent your hue from darkening.

K. Herman was born in Tobago. A. K. writes fiction and poetry and was shortlisted for the 2009 Commonwealth Short Story Prize. A. K.’s writing has appeared in Doek! Literary Journal, Small Axe Journal, Aster(ix) Journal, Lolwe, Isele Magazine, and others. A. K. lives in New York and is working on a novel.

Cover Image: Julian Myles on Unsplash.