Mom says the first word I ever spoke was “why.”
I wondered why the sky was blue
And why the rain would change the smell of air.
If money didn’t grow on trees, why not?
Why boys can stand to pee but I cannot?
And why can’t babies talk when they are born?
I cried and asked her why some girls hated me
When nothing I had done deserved their ire.
And when my classmates had to go across the world
To fight and kill or die themselves, I asked her why.
Then… why couldn’t I?
If there’s a God, why does he let so many people starve?
And why do people think my brown skin stinks?
That is what they think, right?
“Ours is not to reason why,
Ours is just to do or die.”
She’d quote Lord Tennyson, trying to explain.
I would listen raptly, pause and think;
Then look up at her, sincere as I could be:
Why are lettuce and watermelon never found in freezers?
Why do people cry, but animals do not?
Why can’t people live whichever way they choose
Without being judged and criticized and ostracized?
Why does black mean bad while white means pure?
Who says it’s better to be in love than not?
And why, when we ARE in love, does it seldom last?
Photo by moi