Kourtni McNeil

I know my mother will pound
On every door. Knuckles
Split open and blood dripping
Down her hands she’ll stand
On some stranger’s front porch saying
Please. Have you seen my daughter?
I know my father will cry.

Right now, a black girl is disappearing.

I know my mother won’t stop
Saying my name. Even when it chokes
Her on the way out of her throat
And everyone else has forgotten
The sound of it.
I know my father will cry.

Someone on the news will call her a runaway.
Someone else won’t run the story at all.

I know which picture she’ll show them.
There’s one of me just out of the salon
That my father carries in his wallet.
My mother always tells me
It’s her favorite because I look just like her.

Box braids, cornrows, natural curls,
White teeth, wide smile
School uniform

My favorite scrunchie.

Twist-out, crochet, silk press,
Thin shoulders, bright eyes,
Dirty sneakers.

Still Missing.

I remember the first time someone told me
That all black girls look the same.

Occasionally, I can see the resemblance.