Jonathan Alexander
Dear Sapphire:

I read your poem on the Internet today
and I couldn't help but think of the girl
you left behind to tell your story.
No, not you, or the girl in the postcard
that muses your poem into being. But
the girl in the bookstore who wanted to
gift you her white, white sorrow. She is
ashamed that she is not black. She knows
that she was born wrong, that she split open
her mother to announce her mea culpa to a
world unwilling to hear. It is she who gives
you your poem. But I know, I know:
hers is not your story.
Yours is blacker than her guilt,
more profound than the holes
she digs in her own flesh, piercing the skin
grown hateful. Instead, you see the postcard
she hands you. And her whiteness, of course.
And you let your poem come out of you,
true. We are not all that different, you and
I. But the girl…she's another story.