I don’t need sympathy or an end because it is my skin to inhabit from suckle to croaking but I looked up the history of these genes the other day and I learned we got here early when killing Indians was just a Tuesday and that we spread out down the coast and some stayed South and bought people who were called slaves and some spread West and took land in Oklahoma and you could trace the whole white History of America from before the Mayflower to when the first shot was fired to the founding of the coastal cities and the secession of the Confederacy and the slamming back together of the Union and the stealing of the West and all the laws called Jim Crow and the Depression and both World Wars and Korea and Vietnam and football and baseball and basketball and farms and cities and Jesus from the pulpit and the gentrification of Brooklyn and it’s all here.
Every last horror.
At night I stare at my hands and my skin is so thin I can see the tendons stretch tight across my knuckles and the blood run like blue secrets under a shroud.
I have no illusions of fairness in this life or the past—I am walking proof of this nation’s sin.
I dare you to tell me that’s okay.
Laura Jean Moore is the 2014 winner of the Cobalt Review’s Zora Neale Hurston Fiction Prize. Her poetry, essays, and stories have been featured in [PANK], the Brooklyn Rail, and Corium Magazine. She holds an MFA from Columbia University and a BA from Reed College. She is suspicious of most things.