If you stick my white head in a balloon
it’ll look blue or red or happy birthday
but I’ll still be dotted;
i’ll still contain clusters of melanin
pricking, decorating my hairline.
And I wonder if I reveled in the occasional
sunlit hour within the womb,
if I was painted Dalmatian-like in stroke.
At eight I had myself made-up and clothed
as Cruella DeVille, seeking out living spots
so they could lay dead against me
because I’d have rather worn myself
than look, but to avoid the self-annihilation that
came with the costume,
I painted myself golden, tan,
So all of me was one distinguishing cluster of melanin
Seeping through nose cracks and eyeball corners
Loathing the transparency,
Loathing my spots.
I stuck my head in a balloon
and marked each saturated oval
with silver, so I could still see through the markings
because I wanted to see ovals still in darkness
to dance with each melanocyte in the rain
just like we did when we met
twenty years ago
somewhere between placenta and Pennsylvania
when one melanocyte first asked me
he tap-danced all over my face.