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Saturday, April 20
The Indiana Daily Student

Black Voices

“What I Should’ve been,” a poem by Alicia Harmon


You look different.

I know it's you but when did that become your face?

I mean, don’t misunderstand me, I like it. 

But I cannot erase the image of what I once thought you looked like,

so every time, I am jarred, you know, surprised. 

Let me tell you what everyone thought you’d look like. 

Steady eyes,

open lips ready to laugh

and feet that can’t be shifted

and a head that can’t be turned. 

Steadfast. Controlled. 

Let me tell you what I thought you’d look like. 

Tranquil eyes

and dark red lips

and a hard tongue that knows exactly what to say,

hands that know exactly what to do.

And you’d be just like that


Easy. Unshakeable. 

So I am surprised every time that I see who you are. 

You look like this. 

Searching eyes and moving lips

that say exactly what you mean

and shoulders that will never be hunched again

and hips that move front to back, side to side, and around. 

And man, when that song comes on,

you, baby girl, can’t help yourself. 

And here you are

clawing for freedom again,

refusing again,

determining again. 

Rabid ass don’t like to sit down. 

That little shy thing you used to be would never believe it. 

And goddammit! She’d smile knowing reality can be just as wild as the imagination.

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