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PASSING (J Neo Marvin-Allison Moseley)

I know enough about the Sun Dance
To appreciate what it means
But I’m sorry to say you couldn’t pay me enough
To get me up on one of those things
I’m divorced by force from a heritage
I know virtually nothing about
By choice from another in mutual disdain
Can’t fit in, can’t do without

New Mexico, late 19th century
A woman counts her options to herself
Cling to a culture conquered and crushed
Or pretend to be somebody else
Live the life of a midwestern wife
Matriarch to a Methodist flock
Pushing out children, some die at birth
Hides her history under a rock

Driving through the desert in a red and white Dodge
Past barren farms and boarded up towns
Wondering where all my cousins are.

It seems I wound up with all the recessive genes
A race waits inside of me alive
Any random stranger can spot it right off
But I can’t even tell them my tribe
Alienation, tradition means nothing
America, this is your life
My family history shrouded in mystery
A century passing for white.

© 1992 Undulant Rhetoric (BMI)