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Tuesday, October 15, 2019


by Rachel Mallalieu

I don’t want this to be 
about me, but of course it’s
always about me

With a face like mine,
a thousand ships were launched,
so needful were men of my rescue

With a face like mine,
a few words were said and
a fourteen-year-old boy was
beaten, shot and tossed
into the Tallahatchie River

With a face like mine, feel free
to burst into a black man’s home
while he’s eating ice cream
and demand that he shows you
his hands, and when he does not,
you can shoot him
when his blood stains the floor and
you realize your mistake,
stand in the hallway
and text instead of performing CPR

With a face like mine, the jury will
cry because you clearly didn’t mean
to do it, and (despite the racist texts)
you seem guileless, even
penitent (especially when you say
you wish you had died instead)
yes they find you guilty, but the bailiff
will smooth your hair and the
judge will give you her Bible
you will receive a light sentence
and still be young enough to bear children
once you’ve served your time

With a face like mine,
when the anguished brother
of the man you murdered embraces you
and offers forgiveness,
many will see your blonde hair next to
his black skin and consider
the sordid case closed

With a face like mine,
tears are weapons
so really, you should be careful
with a face like mine

Rachel Mallalieu is an Emergency Physician and mother of five. She writes poetry in her spare time. Her work has been featured in Blood and Thunder and is upcoming in Haunted Waters Press.