On Being Mixed and Things I Never Told My Mother By Keith J. Castillo

On Being Mixed and Things I Never Told My Mother

I.
mama calls me her mocha baby
mulatto child
tells me i’m beautiful the way i am in one breath then
says my hair would look better straight in the next
tells me my nose is too wide then gushes over how my skin
is the perfect shade of brown
skin i used to wish was lighter
skin that i never felt belonged to me
black kid in white household
a foreign entity even in their own home

II.
we watch the news together and mom says that if i was ever gunned down by a cop
she would riot
that people will listen to her grieve
when the black mothers of dead black children
aren’t given a second thought

each time i hear that another black person was gunned down
i wonder if the next will be me
that if i act too autistic, too much like myself, in public
someone will shoot and i will die

that’s
why i stopped stimming in public
and people don’t understand that movement is a way of communication
and it hurts each time i keep it to myself

i wonder if i’m losing a part of me

III.
i am tired
of being found guilty
for being alive

By Keith J. Castillo

Biography:

Keith J. Castillo is an autistic poet. His works mainly focus on disability, mental health, and race. He has been published in The Fem, Crab Fat Magazine, and Vagabond City Lit. The poems he is submitting for your consideration are titled ‘On Being Mixed and Things I Never Told My Mother’, and ‘On Being Told Autistic People Can’t Like Poetry’.

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