Brown Skinned and Beautiful


We are the ones who look like the soil in your planters
and the gingerbread men you make on Christmas
the ones who are the coffee beans—
your complex order from Starbucks
I am someone who was given
quicksand skin
an excuse for your harsh gaze
to sink in slow
I carry my mother’s sweet, chocolate words
and my father’s soot-soaked hours of labour
I am the brick for your chimneys and the lumber
sacrificed for the fire—
the spices you came to my people for
blended together in mortar and pestle
concocted the melanin that
you wished you could taste
I am the one you raised a gun at
the one you said looked like a threat
this skin was the stage where your appreciation
became fear
from this I learned
no matter how nurturing the tree
people may still bring axes to your trunk



FAREH MALIK is an emerging poet and spoken-word artist. His work has been accepted and featured in several anthologies and literary journals. He was the first-place recipient of Muslim Hands’ 2020 Poetry Contest. Fareh frequently uses his work to highlight the intersection between social racialization and mental health. He draws most of his inspiration from his own history, as well as the stories of his friends and family. He also loves bubble tea. A lot.