Her body is not her own.
From her legs to her backbone,
It is the property of another,
Who forces her to be the other:
The outsider, the perpetual foreigner,
The one stuck alone in a corner.
Even the street lights of her eyes
are commercialized and fetishized.
The highways of her blood vessels
are heavily tolled, right down to the decimal.
When the monthly earthquakes shake her to her core,
she is reminded of the parts of her that men have spoke for;
the parts of her that bear their names,
across her body’s valleys and plains.
Her tongue only speaks their language.
She forgot her bloodline to shoulder a stranger’s baggage.
That is what they told her to do for them,
and she did, even if it choked her like gross thick phlegm.
Because forgetting her story was easier than fighting for it.
It was easier to pretend like she was one of them and ignore it,
than embrace histories she carried in her eyes,
and so she fell for their illusionary lies.
But she will never be one of them.
She will always be eating off their leftover crumbs.
They made sure of that,
their expectations of which she always fall flat.
She realized that almost too late,
when she was living a pre-determined fate
that was structured and shaped by a white man,
by the horrifying influences of the Klan.
She had become their model minority:
the weaponized instrument for white authority.
She decided she would not be another one of their conquests,
the prize at the end of a contest.
She would fight to the death,
screaming until her last breath.
Except who is she fighting but herself?
The weapon has turned on itself.
They made her into her own enemy.
They created her life as state of enmity.
Because suddenly, the feeling of her mother tongues
in her mouth and in her lungs
was foreign and strange
like the language has been estranged.
It’s hard to understand,
but it’s like writing with your non-dominant hand.
The language tastes like blood,
like irony and mud.
She mixes up the adjectives for verbs,
the very structure of language disturbed.
The fluency and eloquence of her colonial tongue
juxtaposed by the stuttering and stammering of her mother tongue.
How can she possibly unlearn all that’s been taught?
Because colonialism is a melting pot.
Even if she is born and raised in the Great White North,
she gets tossed in and stirred back and forth
because that is exactly what it is: White.
They don’t give a damn about your plight,
just whether you can assimilate,
or else they will continue to alienate.
She doesn’t want either,
because she is not an appeaser.
How does she bring it all back now?
She doesn’t know,
not without delivering her identity a deathblow.
So at night, to herself she softly pleas,
Eunice C. Der is a second-generation Chinese Canadian, currently studying at the University of Toronto. She majors in English, and minors in East Asian Studies, as well as Material Culture and Semiotics. She aspires to be a museum professional and an author, as she is passionate about creating the representation in both museum spaces and in literature she missed out on having as a child. She also has published works in the university’s material culture and semiotics journal, The Material Merge.