As the words stumble out of my mouth

I follow their eyes

Up and down

Across and around

As the sounds leave my throat

I watch their eyebrows furrow

I watch their head tilt

And I wonder

If they understood me at all

If they were listening at all

If the pitch made them question

And wonder, which?

I feel my skin on fire

My pigment burning

I feel them questioning me

I can hear the cogs turning

As a man, my legitimacy questioned

As a woman, my history questioned

As brown, my otherness brought to attention

The hair on my face

The shirt on my torso

The jeans on my hips

The movement of my lips

I’m just a person who needed some direction

It makes them wonder, which?


Written with great thanks to the Toronto Wordsmiths