Gypsy Girl, 1957, Oil on Canvas, Jaroslav Vožniak

Romani girl, your blue shirt turned green  
because of your thin, yellow cardigan. 
Surprise in your eyes. Pulled the wrong card again.  
These cycles are hard to break and hard to bend.  

They identified you as “special” in school. 
Little did they know, those teachers who failed you.  
Czech twisted your tongue, 
but with Romany you sung 
sweet songs while your skirt swung.  
The school system didn’t understand— 
never gave you that helping hand. 

Romani girl, wrongly named Gypsy, 
it is funny, but not funny at all, that history  
threw you misconceptions and doesn’t see it 
clear enough to clear it.  
Your people never passed into Egypt, 
but wandered into Persia, Byzantium, Greece,  and above.

A melancholy gray background  
like your background and the colors in your face 
surround you in this quiet space. 
You stare into the distance as you sit in place.  
Romani girl, what happened to the sparkle in your eye?  
There is so much life in your pink hair tie.