Be nobody’s darling; Be an outcast. Take the contradictions Of your life And wrap around You like a shawl, To parry stones To keep you warm. Watch the people succumb To madness With ample cheer; Let them look askance at you And you askance reply.
Be an outcast; Be pleased to walk alone (Uncool) or line the crowded river beds with other impetuous Fools.
Make a merry gathering O the bank Where thousands perished For brave hurt words They said.
Be nobody’s darling; Be an outcast. Qualified to live Among your dead. Alice Walker
For the first time, on the road north of Tampico, I felt the life sliding out of me, a drum in the desert, harder and harder to hear. I was seven, I lay in the car watching the palm trees swirl a sickening pattern past the glass. My stomach was a melon split wide inside my skin.
"How do you know if you are going to die?" I begged my mother. We had been traveling for days. With strange confidence she answered, "When you can no longer make a fist."
Years later I smile to think of that journey, the borders we must cross separately, stamped with our unanswerable woes. I who did not die, who am still living, still lying in the backseat behind all my questions, clenching and opening one small hand.