White men are not white.
Nor are white women white.
All skin hidden under the thick roof of a house stays white.
Sweating beneath thick coat suits and sheened pleated pants.
Pale. Like a ghost wants hidden.
All shy skin, grown colorless over time, needs no more than shame.
Naked shame in the face of a scrutinizing sun.
For a few days in summer white glows like light reflected off salt-dripping skin.
The heat of whole afternoons bakes bread red as the clay beneath feet.
Red like the dirt bodies burn red turning all day.
By the time the leaves on the trees are brown
white women and men will be brown also.
After two or three honest summers,
white becomes what you call someone
who sits too long in the shade.
All life resembles rhetorical answers to questions about existence.
There are no truer conclusions than what is spoken by the passive voices of trees.
Secrets in endless probing roots which explode under and out where trunk meets ground.
A flattish line of quartz and topsoil like choppy water reflecting light in gleams and flashes, whole oceans of deep furrows glimmering like the side of a fish.
But dirt absorbs the light. Holds on to it. Gives back a dull color or two as thanks.
And keeps the rest.
But water is fast-changing, murky flows grow south and clear and confess awkward truth like ignorant youth.
So soil stays broken. Smaller fragments of a former self.
All parts of it translated to nutrient and sediment.
Ready to give us up all the tree secrets.