THE THIRTEENTH DOCTOR'S LAMENT by N.I. Nicholson Try to cram billions of rooms into your head; notice that some of them start to look alike. There are mild variations between them -- color, in a slight different hexed code, different chairs -- but lay them on top of each other, and still they fit snugly together. That is how times and places repeat themselves to me: Baltimore. Ferguson. Watts. Chicago. Harlem. Selma. Yes, I breathe your air, walk your Earth, have been your friend -- why else do you think I land my blue box here? -- and once I thought it was simple, a trick of my mind: just walk around like I owned the place. Always worked for me. Once I took on Martha’s color, I began to understand deeper, not just how oppression bends the laddered spine until breaking, but how one wears culture over the rawness of spirit and skin. Back on Gallifrey, I wore gold-crested crimson robes; they spoke me into everyone’s ears, proclaiming what I was. I find now here, it is the brown of my skin that speaks ahead of me. I remain your friend, always, but your timelines vex my spirit; humanity, you are hurting me. But that ain’t nothing new.
N.I. Nicholson is one of the editors of Barking Sycamores and blogs at The Digital Hyperlexic. Other published work has appeared in Alphanumeric, NeuroQueer, GTK Creative Journal, and qaartsiluni. Nicholson studies poetry in the Ashland University MFA program, lives in Columbus, Ohio with their fiancé, and is currently in the middle of regenerating.