Melanin Miseries

Tell me daughter of honey and gold…

by Tasfia Syeda

Illustration by Nitya Chirravur

Tell me daughter of honey and gold,
Why do you flinch at the dirt and soot you see in your reflection?

To not itch in your own skin is a privilege,
Not an instinct instilled in the children of the sun, embraced by flames of warmth,
Tossed aside as coal that has yet to form diamonds.
Mother always told you that lighter meant prettier,
So you scrubbed and bleached and scrubbed until your skin was raw,
but never pink.

Tell me daughter of honey and gold,
Why did it take you two decades to learn how to love yourself?