Every morning when she wakes
She puts on an oil that faintly smells
Of cinnamon;
It reminds her of warm green mornings before the dawn, of home,
And a sky of stars has not been seen
For quite some time.
She is quiet as she works
Beneath vast metal ceilings
Beside the ovens and conveyor belts
Beside people as dark and darker than she.
There is nothing to say:
She dreams; she thinks, she schemes.
She wishes and laughs to herself,
A quiet joke from the universe.

This girl not dark enough and too dark,
"She cannot keep up," they say
Within earshot.
The grandmother is kind.
The mother tells her to ask for help.
This girl couldn't bring herself to really care;
She will be gone soon, anyway.
But she tries, and is still too slow-
She thinks
"I have let the world down."
The first to arrive and the last to leave
Like a star, eager to stay and please.
But nothing is permanent.
Nothing ever is.

And time winds down and she forgets to smile.
She counts the minutes till she is free
To stare at the afternoon sky and
Vaguely remember what true night looked like.