By Richard King Perkins II*
The worst thing about Colombia
are the killers—
the best thing about Colombia
are the people who are not killers.
When I was growing up
the other kids made fun of my light skin
Pale Girl and Cup of Milk
and mockingly pointed out my freckles
and fiery hair
so that I learned to be a tough fighter.
There were times when I wished
my hair and skin were dark
like the granos de café of the mountains
growing in the bloodgutters
of my nearly perfect world.
*Richard King Perkins II is a state-sponsored advocate for residents in long-term care facilities. He is a three-time Pushcart nominee and a Best of the Net nominee whose work has appeared in more than a thousand publications. He lives in Crystal Lake, IL.