little brown girl you’ve
forgotten to stick your thumb
inside your fist as the procession
daddy promised you a circus
as you sat on the fence, ready to wave.
instead, he gave you a sea
of black men and women in tears.
daddy rests his hands on your back.
I’m sorry he tries to say
you instead look down the street for
flying children and peanut sized elephants.
little brown girl, you’ve lost the excitement
in your sugar skin. jump from the fence. reclaim it. you deserve it, owed it
after daddy lied to you.
little brown girl, it’s not your fault
daddy mixed up the dates—mommy hasn’t
spoken to him in years—men riding lions and bright tight women no longer excite him.
little brown girl, it isn’t polite to stare
climb off the fence and head
back into the house. maybe daddy
will find his real smile after losing
mommy to her own funeral procession