by Alexis K., 16

I am the leaf casting
darkness over ebony curls.
I am the distance between certainty
and the question of its necessity
I was the girl who dared hallucinate about the
future in vivid color,
excluded from those possessing it
in tones of melanin
I was the mind
yearning for knowledge
and overflowing with potential
I am the shell of the ignorant one
who once believed in perfection, and with
shadowy eyes watched it wither away
I ventured into the past,
forgot the obstacles
fell for marble castles,
Happily Ever Afters
that I’d never seen up close
I was the denial, the refusal
to give up even after every card had been played
against my favor.
I was the dreamer.

Durham, North Carolina