On Being White

In this country
the tower of babble
repercussions beyond words
into culture and the histories
of other peoples who

war our faces;

like i would borrow my mother's shirt
and you would mistake me as her
from a distance—

all distance at this vantage
the superficial color of my skin, a banner,
an outward sign of deeper barriers

erected, by what feels like to me,
long ago—and not my action-

but I wasn't the one hurt by the falling stones,
failing peaces,
my fathers kept throwing around

as they raced

to claim the remodel
and ascend their version of heaven.

Can I stay grounded
where I was born
right next to you?

Is it too much to ask
that I watch what I say…
gingerly sifting through the damages…

listening

for you to tell me when we can start talking again,
beginning with gestures, speaking with hands,

ready to learn a new language.