All you need to know (seriously, though)…

Freckled

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

to dance

and instead

he tap-danced all over my face.

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