Poetry

The Warmth in her Skin – a poem

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Photographed by  Yelena Yemchuk

The Warmth in her Skin
By Alexandra Harrison

Yellow brings out the warmth in your skin
A softening brown
Slightly paler in the inner thighs
And chest
Bones make a delicate network
Across your back
A butterfly snapped in two
Torn apart
To create a new type of beauty

The yellow fabric wraps around your waist
It reminds me of daffodils
Before their petals crumple
And stain brown
In the suffocating summer heat

Your hair smells of old sweets
And fake fruit
It is pressed into a billion curls
A mane that pushes you apart
From the rest of the women
With sleek blonde hair
That glare at you dubiously

Your makeup is dark and frightening
You stain your skin with the scent of musk
And roses
You are beautiful
But alone

You wish for a friend
And a companion
To see you as something more than a temporary
Traveler or nuisance
You wish for somebody to tell you
That yellow brings out the warmth in your skin
To have a honest friend
To not be a political discussion
Or a representation of an entire country
Because you are more complex than a skin tone
And you are more beautiful than one allows themselves to imagine

 

This poem was about racial inequality. I tried to depict a young, black woman living as an ethnic minority in a mostly white area. This woman longed for human companionship, to not be instantly judged by the colour of her skin. The poem is about racism in a modern society, where we pretend we are not prejudiced, but then instantly assume that someone is stupid because they know little English, or that they’re lazy and cheating if they’re an immigrant. We’re alienating our own species, because of our arrogance and primitive beliefs.  The reference to a bright daffodil in the spring, represents how the woman once felt confident (possibly in her own country) but now she her self confidence is crumpling and dying under the prejudice of society. The heat represents the anger of society and how that’s suffocating the woman, they’re trying to weaken her and that’s how they want her. The yellow dress is her rebellion and I chose such a bright colour,  because it represents how  she doesn’t want to be hidden. It extenuates the darkness of her skin and she is proud of it.

The last line ‘And you are more beautiful than one allows themselves to imagine’ is about how racism limits the potential of young black people, how they can feel insecure and anxious about putting their ideas forward just because of prejudice, when really they’re thoughts and opinions are so important. Parts of society don’t want to listen to people that push them away from a ‘comfortable society’ because they fear their influence and power. I talk about  physical appearance in this poem, because that’s all some people see, but the narrator, who I see as myself, is telling this woman that she is beautiful in her all her little details (not just her skin), to empower her and make her realize how she is so much more than people allow themselves to imagine.

I hope you enjoyed this poem, I would love to read your thoughts on it down below! I’m off to a sleepover now with my friends 🙂

 

Thank you so much for reading,

Alex

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36 thoughts on “The Warmth in her Skin – a poem

  1. There are so many things I want to tell you but I will just go with : thank you
    thank you for making me heard and making feel better. I always am insecure about my skin color and you calling beautiful makes me love this poem more . Thanks for everything . this poem means a lot to me 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. This comment meant so much to read, thank you so much for appreciating what I do and I’m so happy that I made you feel heard, you are a beautiful and wonderful friend ❤️

      Like

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