​”What is your tribe,”
they asked.
I shrugged with upturned palms.
My hair was not like theirs,
my skin was different too.
An evaporating calm.

“You don’t belong here,”
one said,
with narrowed eyes,
and a curl to his lip,
menace in his stance.
I looked behind me,
a motley crew,
that only wanted a chance.

I was nervous then,
and confused.
“Where am I,
and where do I belong?
I am here, I thought,
where I have always been
living beside you
but apart,
right beside you,
my whole life long.

I asked the man,
“what is a tribe?”
A ripple of laughter
rolled through the crowd.
“You don’t belong here,”
a child mimicked.
“Hear, hear!”
they yelled in unison
as if the small child
had made them proud.

I looked at my hands,
flipped them over and back
counting my decimal system.
“Go back where you came from,”
someone cried.
“I came from here,”
I muttered to myself,
and then the stones let fly.

M. Zane McClellan

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All rights reserved

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