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Syndic Literary Journal

Bluest Eye in the Room . . .

by Laura Castro

You bound from a classroom in the Bronx,

amid students of every shade but mine;

stop short, stare, then burst out,

“You have beautiful eyes!”

Though (startled) I call after you,

“You have beautiful eyes too!”

and hear your friend say,

“She says you have beautiful eyes too!”

my whiteness does not hang easy on me.


Just days ago, your classmate named Hakeem

died of a fall from his roof.

Chased by police—on suspicion of smoking pot.

“Stumbled accidentally,”

they said. 

Hakeem’s teacher tells me he was full of promise—

“Kind of kid you just knew would go to college!”


Oh, bounding girl, yellow sweater flying behind you,

how shall we manage our footing, you and I?

Can I accept your exuberant compliment?

Not worry you’ve been brainwashed by old myths?

Or shall I hide behind the thought

that maybe you just like me—

pleasant enough woman,

come to mentor your young

(also white) teacher?

Perhaps my eyes were smiley as you passed?


Tonight I’ll return to my mixed

(but mostly white) building

far from your zip code

where none of our pot smoking teens

will be chased to their deaths.

Accidentally or otherwise.



Compiled/Published by LeRoy Chatfield
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