A black man and a white man
Step into a room together
And ever so carefully
Peel off their skin
Folding it neatly
Over the back of a chair
Before taking a seat
Directly across the table from one other
Staring deeply into the other’s soul
A blood sample is taken from both men
Two vials of the deepest red
Placed on the table in front of them
Followed shortly by a set of fingerprints
A series of questions are put to them
And they silently write down their answers in response
They both compile a list of their favourite food and drinks
The sports teams they support
Styles of music that play in the background while they work:
one of them is a surgeon, the other a plumber
Series they have binged, followed by
Movies that have made them gasp in fear
and others that have made them cry.
Then spend some seconds scribing
Their hopes and dreams for the future
That speak of family and security and
Wild adventures in far off places.
There is a steady kind of rhythm to proceedings in this cold and empty room
A kind of dance that ebbs and flows
Question posed, followed by a moment of thought, then both men leaning into their responses
And on and on it goes…
Until one last ask finally creates a momentary blip
“Tell me about your experiences growing up in this country.”
Followed by a time for thought and as always leaning into response
But this time only one man writes, efficiently and systematically
As the other appears frozen.
Lost in thought perhaps.
A barely noticeable drop of salt water dissolving on the page in front of him.