Wolves

There are wolves dressed as sheep
That don’t believe themselves wolves when they look in the mirror.
This is the plight of the white progressive
and I don’t know how to not surrender
something of myself when they catch my scent
When they speak to me and mine as if they aren’t cursing us in the same sentence
When I can feel their breath at the nape of my neck and they are speaking out the side of theirs
I act oblivious to their transgressions
swallow whatever rebuttal I could conjure
pretend I don’t see the snarling teeth and full bellies
beneath their get up

I could say anything to these beast but won’t
Silence is my first means of survival
Silence is me stretching myself thin and tightrope walking my insides for their entertainment
It is me wringing my own neck as to not let a wince out for their comfort
It is a smile as my gums rot away for their convenience
By default people think me a convenient thing
The place to lay their burdens and lived guilt

I eat the casual racism
the mouths parading as mine
the eyes rolling into oblivion
the slipped tongues
the lineage of forget
the white feminist powwows
and lack of accountability
I eat it all America like the boy in Matilda
avoids the taste of the bittersweet blood cake
I eat it all until something within me dies
and the corpse I shit out in front of you
is a good ole nigger dressed in a respectable tux

I don’t know how to not be fodder when my job is on the line
When the woman behind the counter mocks my black history shirt
and proceeds to talk about what equality should look like
I wish to God
I didn’t have to remove my spine
And hold my tongue
To exist in most places
I just want to be a good Person
I will actively shed my skin just so everyone feels at home in me
even though I am still unpack the closets
and the boxes in the attic
and the places I pretend to forget about when the wolves are arounds

When I choose to lose a battle quietly without breath
I can feel a coon crawling out the basement of my being
Inhaling my words
Conducting my mouth
Whispering,
become the good nigga
be the boy who don’t cry wolf

And the whole city,
will love you

– Charles D. Stephens