Blond

BLOND

NATASHA TRETHEWEY

Certainly it was possible—somewhere 
in my parents' genes the recessive traits 
that might have given me a different look: 
not attached earlobes or my father's green eyes, 
but another hair color—gentleman-preferred, 
have-more-fun blond. And with my skin color, 
like a good tan—an even mix of my parents'— 
I could have passed for white.

When on Christmas day I woke to find 
a blond wig, a pink sequined tutu, 
and a blond ballerina doll, nearly as tall as me, 
I didn't know to ask, nor that it mattered, 
if there'd been a brown version. This was years before 
my grandmother nestled the dark baby 
into our crèche, years before I'd understand it 
as primer for a Mississippi childhood.
Instead, I pranced around our living room 
in a whirl of possibility, my parents looking on 
at their suddenly strange child. In the photograph 
my mother took, my father—almost 
out of the frame—looks on as Joseph must have 
at the miraculous birth: I'm in the foreground—
my blond wig a shining halo, a newborn likeness 
to the child that chance, the long odds, 
might have brought.

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