These Days

I haven’t been
a crying child
in decades,

yet I am always reminded
of the way I whimpered
when out of reach.

These days, my time
is spent not recognizing
the reflection in mirror:
skin cratered as the moon,
splotched as sunset street.

The child I was
is buried under years
of pressure and heat,

yet my people
refuse to acknowledge
maturation of mind

As though my skin and body
could age and distort
but my mind remains the same:

innocent, childlike,
blessed in the ignorance
of the untouched.

As though anything can stay
the same for that long.

I am not the same
frightened child stretching
her arms toward love.

I don’t remember when
I stopped reaching out
and instead learned
to sit silent. I don’t
remember when I found
a voice I was too coy
to share.

Taking my time
has taken so much
of my time.

I am armored and sturdy.
I am angry and informed.
I am tooth cut and fermented
waiting for the moment
to be loud, to speak up,
to reach out.