“there’s a cosmic storm whenever he’s in my orbit
five races at war outside time, trapped

in one spindly high-toned body, knobby elbows and knees

the rigorously loving teachings of mom and dad take
root despite media engineering and peer pressures.
the snippy cuttings, mouthy snipings, and cheeky wit
that will soon attend his adolescent defenses have yet
to materialize. right now he knows not to prevaricate

and so, that fall morning when i call him
to me for an ancestral chat, to take him into my lap

he hesitates.

don’t be afraid, i say. he takes a few eager skips
that turn into squirms when i grab him and hold him tight

situated in my softness, he relaxes some
but stares at my hands in consternation

this is what happens, i think, when the eyes go against the heart

You’re all mixed up, aren’t you?


Your mother belongs to me. What’s my name?
What do you call me?


You don’t want to like me,
do you?


Because I’m brown.

He’s silent.

Is it because I’m brown?


Well, that’s okay. I’m going
to be brown forever. Is it
okay if I like you?


then I hug him and let go, wondering
if that’s enough to set him free.”

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About the author

This page was created by our editorial team. Each page is manually curated, researched, collected, and issued by our staff writers. Quotes contained on this page have been double checked for their citations, their accuracy and the impact it will have on our readers.

Kelly Peacock is an accomplished poet and social media expert based in Brooklyn, New York. Kelly has a Bachelor's degree in creative writing from Farieligh Dickinson University and has contributed to many literary and cultural publications. Kelly assists on a wide variety of quote inputting and social media functions for Quote Catalog. Visit her personal website here.

Kendra Syrdal is a writer, editor, partner, and senior publisher for The Thought & Expression Company. Over the last few years she has been personally responsible for writing, editing, and producing over 30+ million pageviews on Thought Catalog.