From the Anthology 

Black Women Coping in Cleveland

Emerald Necklace

by Michelle Sanders

Ohio’s parks are green fantasies that wraps everyone in nature’s warmth

The trees are lush and teeming with hues of browns and greens

They tower well into what my eyes perceive as clouds

I never imagined that serenity could exist here

That I could sit in nature and not be aware of my brown skin

People run by me

Breathing hard but steady

Others breathing soft and confidently

My eyes close and I just exist where existing is allowed

This feeling is transient and what follows is jarring

And I am forced into remembering that I am somewhere between human and invisible

Belonging nowhere but everywhere

I've been told that I need to leave Cleveland

That things will be better elsewhere

But I am reminded by my bathroom mirror

That my blackness is either overvalued or undervalued, fetishized or spat on,

objectionable or namelessly worshiped all at the same time.

And that Cleveland is just a representation of America

And I am not of America nor Cleveland

Author Bio

Michelle Sanders is a Detroit native who has been living in Cleveland for 9 years. Professionally, she works as a Technical Fashion Designer for a local company within the city. In her free time, she writes and creates art that examines ethnicity, trauma, and introspection.