Coloring Between the Lines
Six, seven, eight, nine,
Growing up I would find
an interest in writing my own stories.
And those stories,
cheap imitations of novels I had read,
featured characters unlike me.
For the novels that I had been raised with,
sweet and girly and easily read,
like my face when I lied to my mom about not eating cookies before dinner,
had protagonists who were small and cute and,
most importantly, white, with
features unlike me.
And so, when I approached the world of writing,
I entered it with an idea of an ideal type,
as I had never seen a character
who was tall and gangly and dark,
who had permed hair that stuck in all directions of the wind
the way I stuck with my best friends,
friends that happened to be small and cute and white,
But as I grew older and sought out novels
by writers who wrote about people who were maybe
chubby or tan or bilingual,
my world itself opened up,
and I found that characters could be
tall and gangly and dark
and that it was okay to write about people like
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