I'm pretty like my life depends on it—
because it kind of does.
My pretty little hand does eyeliner over and over.
Approximately 12 times each morning
before the final look is presented,
because you’ll never know when you might be noticed.
They're told “you’re lucky you're pretty”...
I hear this all this time.
I'm told you're pretty for a black girl—
trenchant words like darts to my face.
I’m told them all the time,
a microaggression forever unnoticed.
They get to just be pretty.
Even better— their pretty turns into long lasting love.
Romeo and Juliet arm in arm.
Topanga and Corey arm in arm.
Cinderella and Charming arm in arm.
Fiances and engagements,
aced job interviews and 401ks,
their pretty turns into starter homes
by the ripe age of 25.
Pristine white picket fences safeguarding
white picket forever-love, forever.
Their pretty turns to comfortability
and sustainability and accessibility.
Their pretty is a commodity,
while my pretty gets left behind.
Left to wither away
like the isolated child
left abandoned on a playground.
I was her once.
They scream you’re pretty for a black girl
and life chugs on as it always did.
And so I live on too…