passing privilege

your hate

follows me

down every abandoned road

inside each tiny diner

questions follow my wake

as they have since girlhood

your mouth wonders

what I am


what languages I speak


where my parents are from


your eyes search,

as they have when I cut

my hair real short

and wore those collared shirts

you move aside for me

you let me pass through

and hurl the insults

and beer cans


when I am almost out range

your hate stares


into me now

in the library

when I stop to fix my scarf

after class

when your engines roar

way to fast

for this school zone

and yes

I could change my last name

I could let my hair down

press it straight

bleach my dark brown blond

I could hide my love

I could have married young

but my siblings can’t

squeeze themselves

into boxes you can

easily decide into

woman enough

man enough

my sisters and brothers

can’t make their skin into tone

that would make you


when they are murdered

and left in the street to die

my students cant erase

the parts of them

that make you think of terrorist

in their young beards

their black head scarves

so I will pray when it is time

I’ll hold women’s hands in public

I will keep speaking Spanish whenever I can

and you can look to the heavens for forgiveness

I am tired of your eyes





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