so many people made me feel like I left certain things behind,
like my home or my friends.
they would say I changed, or conformed.
but look at where I still call home.
the same place that I called home when I came into this world.
and some of those same people don’t want to claim home anymore.
it’s clear to see.
they say I changed.
I used to feel bad or ashamed, as if they didn’t think I was different in the first place.
even to those I may have seen in the neighborhood on multiple occasions wonder
how I could be from such a place,
as if beauty doesn’t lie in the hood,
even in those that the world
doesn’t want to call beautiful.
i’ve always felt that i’ve been caught up in a blend of worlds.
i’ve always felt out of place when i’ve been at home
unless I was at grandma’s house on Jett Street.
since granddaddy died,
I realized that home could
never be that way again.
crack & sickness.
I always felt like I was inauthentic to so many
but so real to myself.
then I realized that I had become
a scapegoat for others’ pain.
I began to wonder,
how could I have left home
or how could I be less Black
if I come from the same place that
you come from.
I was placed in a broken
with the perfect kind of love
the perfect kind of sacrifice.
villages raised me.
I was kept from some
of the horrors,
and I did not tell of
some of the horrors
that I had been through.
my story had been unauthenticated,
and once again I had to try to find which
shelf I fit on,
in between what books.
then I realized that I don’t
have to force myself to
place a label on