When I Consider the African American

Carly Inghram

When I consider a broken arm that is now healed.
I remember that youth had its own ringtone,
its own set of physical gestures that will now be remembered
incorrectly. When I consider a broken leg I’ve never had.
I do not consider having wanted to be someone’s wife,
more than wanting to meet a firm, unhidden silence while alive.
When I consider the broken fingers on separate hands.
I do not consider how a form of intimacy is drawn
when two people press their hands together.
I do not consider sticking my hand out the moving taxi
just so I could see the wind catch through my fingers.
See you in the drunk image of my mind, waiting at my door.
When I consider the broken septum, I do not consider
that it never actually did break, per se.
Though my dad would say it damaged the look of my face.
The jewelry never really did much but hang there,
no skin ever broke through. When I consider what I feel like
when it’s time to talk about black people in history class.
My body is not left justified, my eyes are not center stage
seeking any type of white male professor to call me out
for a single line of verse, an insight. When I consider
the Negro Table at Atlanta Catholic High School,
I consider how my black father told his son not to play
with that word. When I consider growing up being told
my family were the well off ones of our family, I do not consider
that I am undeserving of the bracket of light I have claimed
outside the window trees. I am considering if I can be blameless
and still accountable. At breakfast my father dresses up his voice
in character, becomes Brutus Junior, the sweet man who serves
us our breakfast sausages. We would laugh and laugh
because we knew that it wasn't our father. When I consider
how the normal self consciousness of a middle schooler rubbing
off her blue eyeshadow for fear of looking too made up
and still ugly, I consider how I still love that child.
When I consider what a stranger sees when they see me.
I do not consider it is possible that the site of brokenness
is no longer marked off with orange cones.