There is a boy dancing alone outside after school
with a freckle dotting the underside of his nose,
and cheeks rounding too chubby to keep him out of fights.
His books and pages are always spread on the floor around him
like a blooming white and ink flower,
or floating down the stairwell and resting on the bottom floor
before he can catch them midair.
He never answers with only one word
or stops to inhale when he reads,
or puts his punctuation points where they belong.
And he never, ever, blinks when he talks to you.
Just his widened eyes,
“Is this the answer I think that the girl in the story wants to be a ballerina because she is black and people say she can’t and that she shows them that she can and I think that it means too that she can do whatever she wants because she doesn’t listen to other people and that’s what I think wait no I think she is proud of herself and that’s why that’s why,”
And then the most hopeful smile you have ever seen.
Today this boy stopped my reading with a tap and asked,
one hand waving towards the window,
and honest tears clouding his eyes,
“Was it ever black and white?”
And I couldn’t lie that it never was.