Author Bio Critique – A Poem

When I read your author bio

I want to know if you are brown like me.

I want to know

If you can understand the happiness

Of the autumn wind.

But also

If you have been confused for being the tourist

Instead of the tour guide

In your own hometown.

Have you doubled over

On the 6th of the month

And lain in your bed


You don’t have to wash the sheets


For the third time that day?

Have you been so angry

Because you weren’t sure

If the price was right

But know

That the man’s smile wasn’t?

I want to know

If you have struggled

With saying just the right words

So that

You know what you mean

But the other person

Thinks you’re agreeing with them.

All this

To avoid

The discomfort

Of not being like them

Not thinking like them

Not hating like them

Not praying like them.

When I read your author bio

Don’t make me guess

If your skin turns ashy

Without the cocoa butter cream.

Unless you write

Like how I talked

When I lived in Brooklyn

Wearing my big hoop earrings

With my favorite wide legged jeans and crop top

My bangs hiding my eyes

So when I said,


And did the up-nod

I could pass with my friends

Thinking I was some cool shit.

Unless you can capture that

In your first few lines

So that I would know

Without a doubt

That you get that

All-American point of view

Please tell me

What shade you are.

Because if there isn’t a picture,

If your name is that bland-from-no-where name,

Or the you’ve-changed-your-name-to-fit-in name,

Or the you’ve-taken-your-white-husband’s name

(Because we all know if they were your Partner, you would keep your own name so your parents won’t know)

If your author bio

Doesn’t say “where you’re REALLY from”

Then how will I know

If you can hear the tears

When the colored leaves fall?

©️ iido 2019