There is so much ugliness
In me
The polite me
The pretty me
The one who nods
And behaves nicely
There is so much hate
And anger
So much shame
Full of flaws
Only if I could
Wash it away
Peel it off
Cut it out
Only if

Two days ago I talked to my daughter’s daycare teacher Ms. T. She was baby sitting for us so my husband and I could go out and celebrate our 10 year wedding anniversary. Ms. T is half black, half filipino. Her son is a few months older than my daughter and used to go to her school. Every time I saw him, I secretly wished my daughter could be more like that. He is the cutest little boy who was always smiling and was very polite. He listened to his mom and other teachers, a very “proper” little boy.
Her mom told me one day when they were on the bus going home, she noticed he was rubbing his arms rigorously. She asked if he was hurting or itching or something. He replied he wanted to “wipe off” the color. That he did not want to be this color anymore and to be the same color as his friends in school. After further probing he told her some kid in school made fun of his color. He was 4 years old at the time.

I am outraged and saddened and ashamed. I don’t know how to convey what I want to say. There are so many thoughts and feelings and words are not cooperating. This poem came as I thought about him, about how I idolized his “proper” behavior and about all the character flaws I have. I must clarify this is not a poem about him.

Thanks for reading.


4 thoughts on “Ugliness

  1. This is so sad. I hope his mother educated him or reassured him about his uniqueness and beauty. Kids can be so cruel we say but that attitude or behaviors could come from what their parents say.

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