I want a poem
to metastasize itself into existence
from the hatred in my heart.
through years of being told I am
not worth visibility,
not worth acknowledgment,
not worth the dignity that comes with controlling one’s own image.
women sharing my bloodline
are strung up in maiden skirts,
handed feather dusters
and told to bend over when they clean.
Because straightened knees and straightened postures
only belong to those who are worth being seen
with strong stature
instead of silhouette spine,
contorting itself to befit
someone else’s ideal of beauty.
America told me I was not beautiful
as anything other than foreign,
designated my identity to exotic home.
I can’t say
"Damn, I’m feeling fine"
without hands reaching in
to assess their agreement.
I am 13-year-old Romantic lips
touched for the first time after:
"So, can I kiss you?"
This body never belonged to me anyway.
It belongs to camera crews
adjusting lighting filters to make my skin look most
It belongs to "ay papi" producing groans
in the lowest register.
This body belongs to chola earrings and colonized tongue,
not to miracle marketability and unanticipated eloquence.
America tells me daily
that my body belongs in the "exotic" section of pornographic menus--
to be consumed
on TV screens
by men and women
who couldn’t break enough of us
to get their “fiery, spicy” fix.
Is it any wonder that this body breeds resentment?!
Breathes a cloud of poison to
enclose my personal space?
I want an ending to metastasize itself into existence
instead of waiting daily
for my body to be taken from me
like America has taught me to expect.
America's Beauty? was published in Issue III of St. Sucia zine in the summer of 2015.
© 2015 by Marisa Adame