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An Ode to a Burning Woman


To the burning woman
Who held my hand
You were damned as you were born
Wrong color
Wrong sex
Wrong part of the world
Wrong
As fait would have it, I would be standing there that morning
And you would be in pain, the likes of which I’ve never seen before
You were a monster
Your eyes ablaze, burning through your skull
Incisions carved in your arms, like pus-crusted gills
Your mouth gaping dry, like a fish out of water
And you were beautiful in your wretched humanity
And I could do nothing but hold your hand
And as you squeezed my hand back
My gamble paid off
You were, in fact, human
You were, in fact, in need of love
As you pulled me closer to you
I lied and said "don’t worry, everything is alright"
White lies don’t hurt black children
Anything to protect you
With one touch of the hand, you are my sister
I loved you from the moment you begged for humanity
I will forever love you for giving me humility
I only regret not holding you closer
Souls should not burn alone
That day, I was fire proof
That day, you saved me
 

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