Rachel Dolezal Defiant: ‘I Identify as Black’ by Grace Curtis

There’s a news story about an abandoned lion cub
at the Gaza Zoo being saved by a lactating canine.
The poor dog just figures it’s one more set of teeth
to feed. Lion as dog. Dog as a lion. Years ago
this same zoo delighted children with black
stripes painted onto a white donkey. Everyone
wants to be something they’re not and more so
to make something of it. It’s about not going to your deathbed
with regret. A real zebra—too heavy,
too costly, too much of everything
to bring through the tunnel from Egypt. I get that—
this longing. I’ve always thought of myself
as a pianist who never learned to play
the piano, a lesson-less vocalist, a distance runner
who walks, and my unlearned Italian,
flawless. A friend I know takes strokes off her golf game
for good practice swings. Comments
on a Facebook post of a kid in a video telling a great story
proclaim, that ain’t no kid, it’s a little adult. It’s the good news/
bad news thing—the good news is, you are what you are.
The bad news? In no time at all, that little cub’s gonna claw
that dog’s teat right off.





Grace Curtis’ book, The Shape of a Box, was published in 2014 by Dos Madres Press. Her chapbook, The Surly Bonds of Earth, was selected by Stephen Dunn as the 2010 winner of the Lettre Sauvage chapbook contest, and she has been nominated for a Pushcart award. Her prose and poetry has been or is forthcoming in such journals as Sou’wester, The Baltimore Review, Waccamaw Literary Journal, Blood Orange Review, and others. http://www.gracecurtispoetry.com