Grey Zone

Something suddenly clicks into place
when you reach out and touch my bare arm in a swift caress
holding my blue eyes with your own brown ones
and an apologetic smile that’s somehow
asking for permission to place your hand on this naked part of me
to create a quick coffee and milk mosaic
an expression I have never seen on any woman’s face before
I suddenly understand
that for all of you
all your claiming that I’m a black woman
trapped in a white woman’s body
which is shaped like a black woman’s, anyway
isn’t as much a matter of denouncing my whiteness
and denying our differences
as it’s a desire to include
to be on equal terms
but if I’m going
to heal everybody’s wounds by letting them touch my skin
I’ll be worn raw and bleed to death