by sunmi famule
You are dying.
I can see it in the way
you bend like tree branches
on a cold winter night.
You have become sugared bones.
You have spoiled because no one took care of you.
You are now a tidal wave
in the middle of a forgotten ocean.
Nobody knows how to console you.
No one understands you.
Why did you become so cold?
Your heart brittle like glass.
Who molded you this way?
Who made you cry
and forgot to wipe your tears away?
Who stole the smile from behind your eyes
and bruised your soul?
Was it those you saw as friends?
Those who sold your secrets
in exchange for pennies, for sweets?
Was it those who dreamt so loud
they drowned your thought till you had and felt
nothing of your own?
Were you tired of feeling broken
like pieces of yourself never quite fit?
Was that why you warped yourself away
somewhere they couldn’t get to you?
You are dying.
The pieces that once were you have been replaced.
Soon, you’ll be more winter than spring.
And your smile too shall fade.
This world has made you bitter.
Left you numbed in the rain.
They have abandoned you.
They have sewed anger on your lips
and hate in your heart.
They have made you.
And sometimes I wonder,
If they made me too.
She found beauty in snapping bones
Skin so thin it looked like gold.
She found beauty in see-through bones
And bruised fingernails.
Fingerprint pressed into tight skin.
She found herself in pointed knees and collarbones.
Found acceptance in orange juice-soaked cotton balls
And leaf lettuce quartered with a fork.
She found music in the sound of finger bones
Clanging against skeleton knees.
In the sound of a stomach
Which sang the song of hunger,
The scraping of sandpaper
Lips together pressed.
She found inspiration in skeletons,
Counted all her ribs until hers
Were as pale as theirs.
Some say that beauty isn't skin,
And they're right.
And the woman behind her demands
she speak English.
"This is America," she says.
The woman with the strange tongue swallows her words
but not her bitterness.
This is America,
the land which forgot that it does not belong
to those with white tongues.
The land which swallowed the bodies of
10 million natives.
The land which put millions of non-English
speakers to work on foreign soil.
The land which sent others to camp
for the purpose of avoiding “espionage”;
those with a strange tongue.
When she said speak English,
did she mean speak White?
wrote her first poem about mustard and it's magical wonders. Since then she has moved on to writing about thought-provoking subjects like creating and accepting one's identity, race relations, religion, and ketchup. Sunmi recently published BECOMING, a book of poetry that deals with the acceptance or denunciation of one’s identity. Sunmi plans on pursuing journalism and political science at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, starting in the fall of 2017.