I was infected with racism early.

Susan Crandall,
Albuquerque, NM.

I was infected with racism early
breathing it in almost
with my first breath.
I was injected with racism early
along with my immunizations,
this one, though, making me prone
to its infection, instead of immune.
Although my mother
tried to teach me otherwise,
racism lives in the voice
floating up from my
gut saying, “You are a woman, alone,”
the word ‘white’ must have
been there too
but smothered in denial.
Each sentence sending him
away was a knife even
though my words
were not cruel.
It lives in the fear
I am ashamed to admit.
I hope not to die
of my infection and take
hope in memory.
My curious child-self
whose hands absolutely itched
to touch the hair of the
little black boy sitting in front
of me in 1st grade.
Finally, I couldn’t stand it anymore
and reached out
Maybe that
is the cure.

 

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