For Xiaojie

The day I was killed
while doing my job
was a normal day
in my American skin
that is to say
my Chinese American skin
my nonwhite skin
and a taxpaying skin
and a kind one
and a skilled one
and an everyday one
and a valuable one

unless your day
in your American skin
which to say
your white male skin
and an aching one
and a violent one
and a privileged one
and an everyday one
and a more valuable one…

must be a more valuable one

because your bad day
means more than my life
and seven other lives
and that’s just what happens
when you have a bad day.

And when someone with skin
more like yours
with contempt for skin
more like mine
holds the privilege
of holding the microphone
of holding the attention
of the rest of the country
and will talk of my killer
that poor poor man
and his sad bad day
“It’s just what happened”

while I remain nameless
but I am Xiaojie
I was two days from 50
I was a mom
I owned two businesses
I was a citizen
I was a friend
And I was a target.

%d bloggers like this: