Tuesday, September 25, 2012

A Crime of Hate

a file piled upon a wooden desk
attached to a barely pronounceable
ethnic name
soon to be forgotten,
faded away,
worn out,
immortalized as a plus one,
nothing left but a mere statistic.

neglected was the
warm honey skin
that stretched across her beautiful curves
with a hint of incense,
the touch of orange henna
when the light would hit her hair,
tied neatly into a long winding braid
travelling to her knees.
she’d drink her morning chai with cardamom,
no sugar due to doctor’s orders.
her eyes were dark chocolate brown
outlined with black kohl smudged from overexertion,
superwoman to her two children,
fingernails often stained yellow from the turmeric
she’d use to fill okra, her husband’s favorite.

disregarded was the
smile that revealed cavities,
an unfortunate consequence
of her sweet tooth;
her laugh was melodic,
creating deep lines around her eyes.
she believed in God,
and would spend many hours
singing along with hymns on old cassette tapes
that she brought with her from India,
where she left her job as a history teacher
to fly to a land of opportunity, of hope,
to dream of a better life for her children.
she spent her days scrubbing the expensive granite floors
of old white women
who praised her for her good work ethic,
and she was happy.

they replaced her when she was gone,
no questions asked.

she will only be remembered by her family
and the man who shot her.

her death was not important enough to make the news;
what would they say anyway?
hate crimes don’t happen to people who look suspicious.

she will forever remain a barely pronounceable
ethnic name
on a file,
the contents of which will be faded and battered
by the tarnishes of time,
as she goes down in history,
immortalized as a plus one,
nothing left but a mere statistic,
a crime
of hate.

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