Tell me all the shame your white skin
has brought you in our culture.
Tell me all the plights of your fair complexion,
starting with sunburn and ending with bad sunburn.
Tell me refraining from compliments
is a hindrance to your professional life.
Tell me that kneeling is the most
disrespectful act a man can perform.
Tell me a piece of fabric and a song are more
important than the dignity of a human person.
Tell me things are just jokes
unless they’re happening to you.
Tell me you know centuries of hate and fear
because of your skin color.
Tell me it’s racist to support
a movement for black lives.
Tell me the worst thing you stand to lose
is your reputation.
Tell me a protest is only constitutional
when it’s not interfering with your life.
But the last thing,
I don’t want you to tell me.
No, tell him.
Tell a black man.
Look a black man in the eyes and tell him what you value more:
your white comfort, or his beating heart.
A.H. Lewis is a 26-year-old poet from Pittsburgh, PA, with an English degree from Allegheny College and a Disney addiction cultivated since birth. Her first collection of poetry, The Smallness of Everything Else, is forthcoming from Dorrance Publishing in spring 2019, along with other pieces published in various publications and social media accounts. For Lewis, there is no weather too warm, no blanket too soft, and no bowl of gnocchi too big.