This Skin

by Mona Mousa


i spent years denying the Nile as home

years trying to wash the Egyptian out of my skin

trying to straighten the Nubian out of my tangled ancestry

leaving my forced Sudanese lineage

spread out like ash on these too hot sands


my mothers eyes said to me

let your skin be a demonstration

of the political statement that is our bloodline

when people ask me where i am from

i will say my mother

she is the first place i called home


i imagine she is what a wise woman once meant

when she said we have be raised to fear the yes in ourselves

Photo cred: Artist: Unknown. email to contribute info


my mother brought life into a world she couldn’t understand

let two go before me

told me when i was barely old enough to understand

to never let them silence me

she said to see veins in my hand when write

is proof that our stories reside in my blood


she would always say that a miracle

is catching a breath after gunpoint

blessed are those who catch it

that she only prays my brother to be that lucky


i asked my mom if she prays for me too

and she says honey,

every day i meet god between fears and tears and the only prayers he answers

and the prayers about you.


I don’t have the heart to tell her

that my skin tone is a narrative i just cant understand

when i was younger i asked my mom if egyptian meant black

and all she said was baby girl

you are 2 shades of a sunrise

still when people would ask me where i am from

i learned to avoid the questions

that my skin was still an unanswered narrative


one day my mom said to me

you will wear the weight of your skin like armor

she told me that she was trying to find place for me to stretch my bones

to lengthen my smile and spread my hair


she wanted to remind me thought he world will try to dictate my worth

based on the black space that is my skin

she told me to never forget that my skin is the space in time where the Egyptian sun sleeps

and the moons tried to tell you its story


she said darling the Egyptian flag is black for strength, white for light and red to show you to see veins in your hand when you write is proof that this stories resides in your blood

Mona Mousa is a spoken word poet and motivational speaker living in Toronto Ontario.

Having toured actively her whole poetry career, this year alone Mona has booked over 200 shows all over North America.. When she is at home Mona is heavily active in all facets of her community having been the special events director of Winnipeg pride, and is the founder and director of Central Poetry, an organization that exists to help poets with the branding and marketing of their poetry careers as well as bringing the highest quality performance poets to Winnipeg Manitoba. Currently Mona is curating a festival for poets of colour called Meli-Nation, set to come to life in August of 2017.