Ritamae’s Poetry Corner; Tar Baby

I was tar baby
but mostly black chips
that’s what Pappie called me
words coated in love
but they said it with crusted tones
dragging words
of mocked contempt
tinged
with poisonous scorn

Yet I was proud
and they remained
puzzled
“Why you proud?”
“You noh know you da di blackest of dem all?”
I was black
indeed
before I knew what it was
I was proud
before I knew what that was
I loved black
even though it seemed a bad thing to be
and no one but Pappie loved tar babie

by Ritamae Hyde
(Mahogany Whispers, 2010)

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