Look­ing Ev­ery­where But In­side

STEPHANIE ROBERTS

Room Magazine - - THORKELSON -

Po­lite­ness is or­ga­nized in­dif­fer­ence. —Paul Valéry

we sing colour­blind. we sigh at silent chil­dren stretched—dark laun­dry from the lin­dens at eve. we whis­per shame­ful era the over of our af­ter thought.

this is how you starve love—feed­ing me ab­sence.

we talk eas­ily (yes eas­ily) of: serbs, ir­ish im­mi­grants, slav­ery in an­cient greece, and the holo­caust; our per­sonal risk is nada, not our: po­lice force, home­towns, courage to con­fess a ter­ror of black skin in the night.

un­in­vited to my stolen life with a no froze like a not in my throat; i watch your party, the only party, with the only anonymity and free­dom of am­bi­gu­ity. we are not racist be­cause: that black co-worker (a riot), our east in­dian son-in-law (so-well-spo­ken), the brown wife and chil­dren, a black pres­i­dent (see), protests re­mem­bered with sad­ness, sym­pa­thy, nos­tal­gia and long­ing, and oprah (we love her). i love you loved you, loved you, for­ever for­giv­ing of­ten for­get­ting, while i get ques­tion marks for in­ti­macy and the nu­mer­i­cal ac­cu­racy of eco­nom­ics against all that tear and blood-soaked lan­guish. at night, we ad­mit they had it com­ing; just do what cops tell you. at the bot­tom of an old well, i look up to where you wa­ter me with the bac­te­ria-laden swill of diplo­macy.

these blacks, mex­i­can (he’s hon­duran), jew,

chi­nese (she’s korean) . . . but white is of­fen­sive said

like the bad thing it is. easy we, accountable only to

our lone white skin and the lily-fair god that favours it.

(there is a hard-core si­lence a rap­ing called level-headed shal­low as com­pas­sion’s white grave.)

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