Don’t ever mistake me again. My smile is not an invitation for baseless declarations. It is the black silk slip my mama made me wear, under my dress for church, so no one could see through to my unmentionables. It’s the stockings over my chicken pox scars and playground war wounds. My tiny purse carrying nothing but candy wrappers, a note pad, and crayons. When I got grown, it became red paint on coffin nails. My smile is merely a clever covering I have utilized, like many other items, given to be by my mother. I remember her washing me in the bathtub. My mother cupped my face in her hands. The corners of my lips curled and she told me, “this is where your peace begins”. My smile is a dance. It is shade in a comfortable place. What my smile is not; It is not a vulnerable place for you to lay your hands. It is not a sign of submission. It is not target practice to relieve You after a day of hell and unrelenting devils. Don’t mistake my smile for shame. Don’t make that mistake again.