We met in the most American way possible. At the baseball game, your friends introduced you to me. You were quiet at first, but as I peeled away the layers, I saw brown eyes that protected brown girl dreams from being uttered in whitewashed rooms.
We stepped out onto the balcony of the sky box and we spoke in quiet whispers, the type that happen only when you’re telling a deep truth that you hope no one hears, not even yourself. Somewhere between quick smiles and glances that take longer than they should, the sixth inning stretched into the ninth as we talked.
After every date, you’d find your way to my place, where we’d cuddle on the couch and eat ice cream. Something about the ice cream caused us to pour our insecurities out of our pores. And sometime between when you handed me the spoon to take my last bite and me handing it back to you for your last bite, I realized what you had been trying to say all along. I was Red, White and Blue and you were ESL. In that moment, though, I made you a promise.
I promise I’ll build you an underground railroad for people like you. One for folks whose color is more coffee than milk. One for people who grew up on the wrong side of the tracks according to people in small towns too small to have tracks.
When they say you should be deported, what they don’t see is that you were cut from the exact same cloth as me. Not colored in cocoa, coffee, caramel, brown sugar, cinnamon, or honey. Fuck their fetishizing of your skin color as some exotic treat meant to be sampled and tasted and not consumed as a full meal.
I’ll tell you what colors I see when I look at you. I see the color of purple that loves too much and forgives too easily. The green that looks past the faults of another because we all make mistakes. The orange that changes blue and grey days into bright ones. And yellow. The passion and ambition that burns inside you. Those colors are more American than any red, white, and blue.
So while they’re busy trying to give you the color of a food so a police dispatcher can describe you before trying to ship you off to Bogotá, I’ll be manipulating the grayscale while I Photoshop your freedom papers to present to the officer at the next security checkpoint.
And when they come for you, know it is because you used your 1st to fight and they are there to read your 5th, but remember that is how we got the 19th.
When they come for you, the violent, rapid knocks demanding entrance will go unanswered. I have already found my entrance into your body and I have taken you. When they pull out the battering ram and slowly and steadily bang against the door as their last attempt at entrance, I will grab your hair and push your face into the pillow as if to say, don’t let them hear you, but I just want to feel you push your needy body back into me and arch that back the way you do right before you cum. This is about me being greedy. Me being American. Taking what I want from brown, and black and red people and pretending it is for their own good. I know I made all those promises, but this might be our last time before the hatred for strong, powerful, beautiful women like you overwhelms that deadbolt.
Before they finish, I’ll finish. There’s nothing special about my seed. Nothing that makes it inherently better, and yet they seem to think that that the red, white, and blue that can’t be found anywhere on my body makes my seed worthier.
When they break in, they’ll lay down their guns and ask to join in because you’re hot as fuck. But what they don’t know is if they’d pack up their guns and go home and unpack patriotism into their own wives, she’d be hot as fuck too. Because when I unload my patriotism into you, brown girl, it’s not Abrams tanks or m16s strapped to men too strong to cry. I unload kindness, love, and patience into you and I know time after time you’ll be back for more.
You didn’t need Mr. Red, White, and Blue to make you whole. To offer up himself as a way for you to find your freedom. No, you are Freedom. You are my Statue of Liberty, lighting up my port of last resort. When they lay down their guns, we’ll offer them what we’ve offered to each other all this time…love.
And if they can’t see that your grandma came here just like their great-great-grandma—when we opened our shores to “your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore”—if they can’t see that your brown is as deep as my red, as bright as my white and as bold as my blue, then they haven’t seen America.