Tiffany, my sister, 
Old since two, 
Her mam's fair skin, 
Beautiful said, 
White people lie. 

Me, wandering lost, 
Her falsetto calling me 
Home from a thought 
Where I'd stayed too long, 
Past street lamp’s warning, 

Said, "Huh?" White people lie, 
She repeated with flat certainty 
Like six o'clock newscasters 
Who've had the wires since one, 
Gazing without emotion, straight ahead. 

"Who said?" I asked, 
Not having been taught 
The danger of questioning 
The lies we are told. 
Nobody, just figured it out. 

She licked the overpriced cone. 
(The driver changed the price, 
Forty-five cents to sixty, 
Crossing the difference- 
Beauvior Street to Dubois.) 

I asked for vanilla. 
Gave me this. See? 
No color at all, done 
Changed everything about it 
Or messed it up one. 

Stick out your arm. 
Her rigid, bony index 
Poked my pliant inner forearm. 
That's the color of vanilla extract, 
Vanilla's brown.