BLACK IS THE COLOR | Richard Kravitz
Anxiety and doctors’ appointments
lots of each. I chatter to friends.
I feel like I’m under indictment.
Melanoma, a tumor of black stuff,
the same root as melancholy,
black bile, my sadness pressed into skin.
A thin melanoma, melanoma on a diet
isn’t supposed to kill you
unless it’s spread too thin
a mote in the eye
a spot on the liver.
Blackness can be beautiful
Blackness can be anywhere
Blackness can kill.
My blackness, my sadness
what am I to do about it?
My viscid oil, so underrepresented
by a skinny mole, an ebony splotch,
wants a full-body hue
an original sunburn,
not a drop of pigmented shame.
I don’t want an ink spot
To malign me.
I learn new words
not related to fascism
although I might think about being
bludgeoned or bewitched.
Fascia is the thin sheath covering the muscle
in my forearm. “We’ll cut down to the fascia
remove a quarter-size piece of skin,
the entire thickness of skin you understand,
and then cover it with a flap of adjacent skin.”
The thickness of removal is supposed to ensure
that the lethal thinness is fully excised
an overkill by depth and breadth
my black interior benign
nothing to worry about.
Richard Kravitz is a psychiatrist at the VA Medical Center in West Haven, CT and teaches psychotherapy and clinical interviewing in the Yale Department of Psychiatry. His poems have been published in JAMA and The British Journal of Psychiatry.