Black Star (Gaynell Warr, 1932-2015)

When I show people this photograph of my mother, their response is often the same as mine when I first saw it: "She looks like a movie star." Yet, when she was growing up kids would call her "Shinola," after the shoe polish, as an insult referring to how dark she was. I kept this poem to one stanza so that the focus would be on her beauty. The poem appears here in English and Mandarin. When the poet Chun Yu started translating the poem she quickly ran into trouble with the word "Shinola." Find out how she resolved it in Shinola.