Mudlark No. 51 (2013)

Light Colored

On that black sand coast, a woman can say pink dress
in English. That is the mark I have made on the world.  
When they were to walk too far or do work too hard
for me to bear, my family left me with the neighbor, 
her nine children. She’d strip off my clothes, line me up
with the rest, and bathe us by dousing us with buckets.  
The clothes she put back on me were not always my own. 
I wept, wanting to be distinguishable again. She 
memorized the foreign syllables I kept crying to repeat 
to my parents, so they could tell the cause of my terrible 
suffering. My pink dress, was what she sounded out. 
How weak, what foolishness. Years, I imagined how she 
must have looked down on me. Until I heard she’d left 
her family for a white man. She’d had twelve children
by then and never gotten what she wanted. Her explanation
for what she’d done: I wanted a chance to have a baby 
with blue eyes.  

Rose McLarney | The Same as Anyone
Contents | Mudlark No. 51 (2013)