Contrition – by Amy Nixon

fullsizerender-1I wake up every day in my skin

it is white

and thin

The hot spray in my white

tile shower keeps me


I smell like cinnamon

soap and baby powder

I am pure vanilla

in a sturdy white bra

soft soft bamboo tiedyed socks

a safety pin

combat boots too light

to fight in

utility pants with no tools nothing

in all those pockets

but a badge

to pass security at my white

collar job That badge says

my time is worth

more than $7.25 it says

my middle class white ass can

drive my SUV a block to

get sushi get my

teeth polished white

White ladies are raised to smile

and not ball up

our fists taught

to float like cotton candy

But me with my thin skin flimsy

boots cinnamon

scent I fight in my sleep wake up

to light stabbing

my skull my heartcage My

pale eyes they smile while

inside I shout Put down

that cross

and pick up a scale

You haven’t met

your Jesus yet and he

wouldn’t know you

from your white neighbor

or a moneychanger or

be impressed

that you footsoldier in a

white righteous war on

Starbucks cups Tell

Jesus who washed feet

do you love the

brown neighbor the gay

neighbor the headcovered

neighbor the struggling neighbor


thy neighbor who can’t

be a mother right now

Don’t we all breathe

air eat rice

What are your hands

busy serving up

today Why does your sign

say judgment

What of this world

needs you to hold it so tight

What gives you the right

to make the rules

for fights you cannot conceive of

when waking up in white

sheets on a nice clean street

How do you say I’m

sorry in English

Where is your shame

I wake in shame

I wake silent and afraid

I wake enraged every

single day

Every day I wake up tired

unmolted white wishing

the absence of color

didn’t make


a difference

~ Amy Nixon

Poet Amy Nixon is an award-winning poet and songwriter who has recently kicked a 40-year coffee habit and is still standing (most days). Her likes are birdsong, the color turquoise, and National Geographic photographs. Her dislikes are injustice and cancer.

Guest Editor Ronda Miller is district president of Kansas Authors Club, as well as state VP of the club. She is a Life Coach who works with clients who have lost someone to homicide. Miller enjoys wandering the high plateau region of NW Kansas where the Arikaree Breaks whisper into the sunset and scream into blizzards and t-storms. Her quote, “Poetry is our most natural connection among one another” best exemplifies her belief in poetry. She created poetic forms Loku and Ukol and co authored the documentary The 150 Reride of The Pony Express. Her books of poetry include Going Home: Poems from My Life and MoonStain (Meadowlark Books, May of 2015).


One thought on “Contrition – by Amy Nixon

  1. Yes I love the
    brown neighbor the gay
    neighbor the headcovered
    neighbor the struggling neighbor
    AND I love this poem!

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