Someone I Look Up To Calls Me a “Wh*re for the White Man” (as a Joke) by Isabel Lee Roden

And I think I should probably laugh,

think I should probably let out a long-suffering sigh,

think I should probably throw my hands up

like a kid caught with someone else’s stolen candy.

And I think I should be more certain of what to do with those words,

know their implications, know my own connotations,

own up to the political ramifications

of the affairs of my heart

(in a way that the defensive thing in me points out

white people never have to).

But I have to pause because

when I cast my body back

into the arms of everyone who’s ever loved me,

too often I find alabaster limbs wrapped round

my many-sourced skin.

How many men 

beside me in bed, 

every strand of DNA

every human cell upon display,

have called to my mind that flesh

(not the lungs, not the heart, not the gut)

is the largest organ of our bodies.

How many of them

have held their marble arms up to mine

to compare the color and to kiss the contrast 

they claim isn’t at the core of their craving?

I’d like to believe that

Love is a revolutionary act.

That the heart is the quickest, deftest reformer of minds I know.

I’d like to believe that I couldn’t possibly be “other”,

not to you.

Because doesn’t love mean I am you and

you are me?

But I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t noticed that 

every time,

the girl that you love after me 

has eyes just like mine.

Isabel Lee Roden (they/them) is a Filipino-Chinese poet from Madison, WI. They’re currently studying at the University of Minnesota Twin-Cities, pursuing a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Acting. Their work has been previously published in Antifragile Magazine, Ogma Magazine, and Overachiever Magazine. Roden is dedicated to exploring identity within their work and what it means to be queer and mixed-race at this juncture in history. They can be found on Instagram at @leewritespoems.

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