Fourth Grade, 1954.
Before black is beautiful
My friend, a little boy
Walks me home from school.
At nine I know my colors
In four languages
Black is not brown
Brown is dark rich and glows
In the Arizona sun.
A color you are born with
A color one cannot achieve
How long one stays outside in the pool.
The sun can only color me peanut butter
But Henry is already chocolate.
He is born that way
And he is my friend.
Friends don’t come easy in a refugee camp,
Or to a new immigrant in a foreign land
Though they come much easier
in a public school in Phoenix.
So when a friend is threatened or bullied
A girl must stand up and protect that friend
No matter the danger.
Standing guard in front of the girl’s bathroom
Where I told Henry to hide
While I became a three foot high Golda Meir
Arms folded, a vicious snarl on my face,
Pretend rage in my eyes.
I told those bullies what was what and to
Never bother my friend again
Or they would face a wrath worse than the principal’s
or the Phoenix Police Department.
And I was scary, just ask my brothers.
Any wonder when my son fills out applications
that stupidly ask “What race are you?”
He always answers “human.”
Any wonder why in 2015,
the South is still arguing over
a Confederate Flag
hanging on a government building
in the United States of America.
Author: Sara Fryd
Editor: Renee Jahnke