Jay's mother is brown, mine is white-
looking, as I am, as is our father.
he says sometimes when he'd go
to fill the vending machines
with our father, the white bartenders
would say, "Is that your helper?"
my father would say, "No, he's my
son." Jay says you can always tell
the person changes by something
in the eyes, it may be small -
the eyes open wider or the brow
creases down. He says that once,
our father sent him to get something
from the truck. When he came back,
the bartender had set him up
with a soda, "Have some pop,"
he said in a friendly way. Another time,
when I was doing a reading in New Jersey,
Jay was with me. "A yuppie place,"
he remembers. After the applause
I thanked them and said, "I'd like to
introduce my brother." When he stood
up, people were still looking around
for somebody, looking
right through him. Finally, when they realized
he was it, he head a woman say, "Oh no!"
as if she had been hit in the solar plexus.
maybe that's why he didn't marry
somebody like us. He married a girl
black as God - and brags to family, strangers,
to anyone about that
blackness - so easily recognized, his.