This Magazine

Progressive politics, ideas & culture

July/August 2017


New poetry by Natalie Wee

Natalie Wee@natweewriter

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

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