Crayons ( By: Ivory Kelly )
I watched her play quietly
On the living room floor.
She sat hunched over,
A jumbo preschool crayon in one hand,
Her black doll in the other.
I eased out of the kitchen to have a closer look.
Her handiwork was almost done,
Her ebony face beaming with pride,
And Walking Wendy, once black, was now yellow.
Baby, what are you doing to your dolly?
Mommy, I’m making Wendy yellow
‘cause I don’t like her colour.
And Mommy, ...view middle of the document...
I sunk in slow motion into the nearest sofa,
Comprehension creeping likes molasses.
My whole body limp.
What have they done to my child?
Where did she learn to hate herself?
She is only three.
Could it be at her Gra’ma’s house –
Stories told of white part of my mother’s blood?
Perhaps she sensed the subtle tones of admiration,
Veiled pride in the voice of whoever was telling
How Grampa mumma eye mi blue blue,
Her puppa being from Scotland, you see.
Did my daughter hear such things,
Or did she inherit them in her genes
Like intelligence of features?
Or maybe I was the one to blame
Years of cultivated pride in my skin color,
What some call red
In my baby’s language, yellow.
How could I teach her to love herself?
With me looking like this?
So I started a small revolution:
Pointing out Black beauty everywhere.
Come, Sweetie, let’s watch Channel 7 News.
That Dawn Sampson only smart. And pretty too.
Then without any warning
A few months later
I watched her playing on the living room floor,
Wet rag in once hand
Her doll in the other.
Baby, what are you doing with your dolly?
Nothing Mommy. Just cleaning up Wendy;
I want my dolly to look just like me.