These Lies Made of Gold

Dear white people who don’t see
race, I am not the one who built shadows

of imagined differences into the architecture
of my identity. You wrote history onto my

yellow sunburst skin before I even had a chance
to fight, forced me to carry tattoos I wanted

to bury. You lied about the meaning they held and
now decades later, I am left digging the ink out

because even if they scar, they will be reminders
of a revolution I started, not a story you ended

when you claimed the arch of my bones, the slant
of my eyes, condemn me to exile. Yet I am still

suffocating in the web you wove around my false
privilege, this war that wounds those without

rice husk armor, because although being East Asian
means that I must shoulder, seek, and fail to suture

a thousand little cuts and sores that never
stopped bleeding, at least I am still a person

and not a hashtag. So I will not stay silent
fuck being a model minority

I am not safe because the police do not have
a hand or a gun or a knee with my name

written on it. This is a time for solidarity
because when a Black child tells me that “white”

is a synonym for “scary,” he’s not being racist. No,
he’s speaking a language dark as blood but clear

as water, each word a hollow bone, heavy
at the bottom of the ocean.

Sarena Tien
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