It has always belonged to me, the colour of enshrouded secrets.
I will never tell my mother about my men. The texture of dark skin. Contrast.

A room full of mirrors. She used to call me in during her hours of bathing,
white lady, white paper porcelain, and whisper conspiratorially, “Tell me about any cute boys you might like…” And me, blushing – mortified in the steam of weekend heat, stumbling over denials of romantic longing and keeping my secrets buried in a heart shaped locket.

My body was not yet developed, and I tried not to look but I knew the shape of my mother’s legs, the delicate hands, the pale roundness of breast. And how I came from that body, but would I inherit that body? Such terror between mother & daughter. And would I be pretty once I got contact lenses, and would I ever be allowed to wear make-up & little black dresses? My mother never wore black.

She wore shades of cream, like a pillar standing bright in the midst of my father’s anger & her children’s morbidity. She wanted her clothing to melt into her skin, vanilla ice cream, cool and sweet. She had no love for my father.

I was born from contrast & chaos. Black is the shade that belongs to me.