That morning on a hostile beach, eyes fixed on
glimmering edges of the old world, you
were already forgetting your real name. Not the one
borne from parents’ careful knowledge of glamor
ous silver screens & all- american sweethearts, each
syllable leashing your neck in preparation for years
of saddling new tongues to waiting throat.
No, not that. The one once given by a fortune-teller
who saw a distant horizon burn ing the sky to silence.
The birth name that means iridescent. Means
radiant puncture seen only in the absence of white
light. But hush. Be a mouth that stays soft. Be
careful to call yourself lucky. Open your eyes,
little girl. Nobody looks like you. Only want to
wear your warm skin for sleek exotic fur, touch
the place where you were born & own it.
You stand on so much famili
ar graves built out of any body a little too
foreign. The invisible collar you call flesh.
So try not to be wound. No grie
vances. Perfect accent. Always laugh. Learn
how many reinventions it takes to become
someone other than dirty ungrateful chink
when you are already other
Natalie Wee is the author of Our Bodies & Other Fine Machines (Words Dance Publishing, 2016). Her work has been published or is forthcoming in the Adroit Journal, Drunken Boat, PRISM international, and more. She has been nominated for the 2016 Best of the Net Anthology and a Pushcart Prize. Find out more at natalieweewrites.com.