Race Inauguration Day


Parades, but not-a-one in the meter of a march.

There were parties.

No apology. Then there were more parties.


Still many of our former owners spat at progress,

at celebration, at transparency,

our fought-for step up from nothingness.


Masked, we forgave them.

Civil Wrongs, overcome.



          No one wants

          to make the hood

            a state.


So we skinned ourselves,

zipper down the body middle,


right there on the National Mall,

the moment of the poet,

cold as her tone, enjambed America with “Love.”


Without complexion, though,

we looked exactly like

what we had become: a clear people, equal to blur.



Thomas Sayers Ellis is the author of Skin, Inc., The Maverick Room, and The Genuine Negro Hero.

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