Oreo — Rich Boucher

They called me Oreo.

 

The eleven o’clock recess period sun

was an excused white witness, oblivious

as I tumbled to my knees

under a gleeful, lead confetti of insults.

 

I pretended that the hurtful words

were just the last few drops of cold rain

slapping a bad beat on the back of my neck

with only five steps left to go to get inside my house,

and I held up under that weather fine

until they said that one name, the one word

that felt like an awful, rightful accusation

deeper than any simple playground mockery.

 

Oreo.

 

I wasn’t called up to the hate board

because of the color of my skin, though;

no racial schism irritated the membrane of my school;

if only the destiny that chose me would have been so kind

but never could I break open the dark, earthy vessel

the Gods thought to put my soul in;

I can’t ever get away from this rough-hewn me

from inside of which I look at all of you all with.

 

I was born with skin made out of chocolate cookie,

and all my blood and internal guts and bones

are made out of a white, creamy vanilla center,

a warm, delicious viscera.

 

If you were to lick the inside of me,

I would be yummy.

 

But there is also a bitterness

under the succulence, a sickly light

lying underneath my flesh;

because of the delicious, but crunchy

nature of my skin, I cannot play sports,

or do most of what other people can do.

I can’t swim, or do anything involving milk.

Imagine being afraid of catching a football,

or of falling, because the impact might just

break you in half; because I don’t have to.

Imagine involuntarily wincing every time

you hear the word dunk,

or mmmmm, I could really go for a cookie right about now.

 

I could really go for some love right about now,

but I will leave this world alone

unless I can find someone who not only

finds me tasty, but also doesn’t mind

being very careful with the soft sweetness inside of me.

 

The word Oreo haunted me for years,

but once I escaped from childhood, I knew

I either had to claim that name for myself

like a shield emblazoned with the gilded emblem of unafraid

or just let it go, imagine its power removed

and then let it be carried far away from me

on that icy stream under the bridge formed

by every one of my forward steps in time.

It took every ounce of strength to do both,

but I gave myself no choice but to survive.

 

The outside of me might be chocolate cookie,

but trapped inside of me always

will be a free, wild child of the Gods

with red Kool-Aid stains on the corners of his mouth,

wishing he could soar almost like an eagle somewhere,

just the way life is supposed to be.


Rich BoucherRich Boucher resides in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Rich served two terms as a member of the Albuquerque Poet Laureate Program’s Selection Committee, and also as a member of the 2014 Albuquerque City Slam Team. Rich’s poems have appeared in Gargoyle, Yellow Chair Review, The Nervous Breakdown, Apeiron Review, The Mas Tequila Review, Menacing Hedge, Lotus-eater, and Cultural Weekly, among others, and he has work in the Write Bloody Publishing superhero anthology MultiVerse, which was released in the Fall of 2014.