Gandhi dot

Never have I experienced oppression to the point of bloody tears

No slavery of soul, no gender or caste discrimination

Only the fleeting moments of ridicule in elementary school

Kids from Texas screaming “Gandhi dot, Gandhi dot, Gandhi dot!”

As I tried to wipe away the non-existent bindi from my forehead

My childhood tears seemed so minuscule and useless

Never have I known the imprint of British batons on my back

The darkness of a prison cell, the gnawing hunger of protest

Never have I known discrimination against the color of my skin

Tanning beds still try to achieve my gleaming brown perfection

No need to execute satyagraha, no salt marches to Miami Beach

I live in America: a world of justice, freedom, and love

I am the collective result of my ancestors’ struggles and pain

By rejecting the dharma-driven war of destruction at Kurukshetra

Experimentations with truth and non-violence left a mark

A mark created by a starving cotton-clad man, with missing teeth

A mark which inspired a Southern black preacher to seek equality

A mark left permanently and honorably on my childhood forehead

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