Light and Dark, Grace Long
I will be shot
by this white man
because I come into
his store every day
and disturb his displays.
I am always fingering
the etched shot glasses
and the Elvis-emblazoned
postcards near the Kama Sutra
picture books. And it’s a manufactured
fact that black people do not buy
knickknacks and black people who
carry backpacks can’t be trusted.
So, I will be shot by this white man,
who has a gun stored somewhere,
I’m sure of it. Probably a rifle.
Probably behind the counter.
Probably a revolver. Probably
under the cabinet with the porcelain
bears in overalls and sundresses
picnicking in circles of grass.
I will be shot by this white man
in front of the bears, but the bears
don’t snitch and neither does Elvis
and black people with backpacks
don’t buy knickknacks can’t be trusted
and I am always disturbing him
and fingering things that don’t belong
to me and it is a manufactured fact
that if you aren’t shopping
you are trespassing
and trespassers will be shot.
About the Author
Khadijah Green · Oakland University
Khadijah Green graduated from Christian Brothers University with a BFA in Creative Writing in 2018. “Negro Paranoia” was first published in Oakland Arts Review.
About the Artist
Grace Long · Central Michigan University
Grace Long is a senior at Central Michigan University and is pursuing her undergraduate degree in Public Relations with a minor in Multimedia Design. She is passionate about design and photography and loves being able to create something beautiful and her own. This piece first appeared in The Central Review.