David M. Taylor: Black Like Me
Photo: Joanna C. Valente

Photo: Joanna C. Valente

Black Like Me


When my youngest son was born,
his skin didn’t match mine.


His color didn’t reflect my ancestors
who were raped and beaten,
but rather those who scarred their skin
in the burning sun
while they sang spirituals about god and deliverance,
hoping to find at least one.


And as I held his timid body,
felt his brittle bones in my arms,
my mother rejoiced that he could pass.


He wouldn’t be shackled to the pages of history,
where black men were lynched
for being with white girls
or how cops would beat you
because your blackness made them justified.


His identity wouldn’t be questioned
for walking down the sidewalk,
and he wouldn't feel the wounds formed
by simply existing.


His skin would come with privilege.


But I couldn’t help feeling a little sad,
for he would never know the strength
that comes from being born black like me.  

David M. Taylor’s work has appeared in various magazines such as Albany Poets, Califragile, Misfit Magazine, Rat's Ass Review, and Trailer Park Quarterly. He was also a finalist for the 2017 Annie Menebroker Poetry Award, and his most recent poetry chapbook, Growing up Black, was published by CWP Collective Press.