beyond the green: collective of middlebury voices

a student-run publication that seeks to provide space for voices that are not being heard on our campus. we are grounded by politics that are radical, anti-racist, anti-sexist, anti-classist, anti-homophobic, anti-ableist, and anti-transphobic (against all forms of oppression) and that reject the structural neo-liberal paradigm that characterizes middlebury college and its official publications

We Could Be Cousins

by Nia Robinson
after Nate Marshall

Whenever I see another black person
in Middlebury, Vermont,
I wonder if they can see me
or if black has become phantom after so many false alarms.
I project a little more hoping they can hear
the home

or the hollering

or the history

in my voice.
I try not to stare,
let’s make this normal
like we both belong here,
like we both want someone to understand.
But sometimes, I imagine us running into each other’s arms
like Celie and Nettie and then I remember where I am.

Whenever I see another black person
in Middlebury, Vermont,
I want to go up and ask what brought them here
because Middlebury is all façade and farmland.
I want to tell them how I saw three confederate flags
within my first week.
I want to ask them if that’s normal.
I want to ask if they can point me in the direction
of Dolezal’s home,
or if Mary is their auntie too,
and if they say box braids or boxer braids.
I never ask who brings the potato salad
because I am not sure that exists in Vermont.
Sometimes, when I hear their voices, twins to mine,
I wonder if black is something I want to know
here.

Whenever I see another black person in Middlebury, Vermont,
they are always under 10 and over 40,
and it always seems like our eyes are asking
what are you doing here to each other.
I stare long enough to try to make out
whether they are Diamond and Silk
or sorry.
I find myself waiting
in the aisles of the Co-Op

for a smile

or a nod.

Waiting for my disappointment to rest heavily on my lungs
and for their body to rupture against mine.
I save the memories of their faces and confuse them for a dream.

Whenever I see another black person in Middlebury, Vermont,
Vermont—where white and racism
hide behind posters of Bernie Sanders,
where white and racism tell me how much he has done
for my people,
where the students love to stab us
with inclusivity until we bleed
colorblind,
where everything is so nice and perfect
and if you’re lucky,
you’ll spot another black person,
before they run you out.

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This entry was posted on September 16, 2016 by in Uncategorized.
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