South Asian Girl in a Western World

We play pretend as vampires,

never letting the sun kiss our skin.

Falling weary and tired

of hopeless attempts to win.


And dance in the rain of a thousand showers

to scrape off the spices in our scents,

until our skin is dry, flaky flour.

Sins for which we repent.


We’re secret agents in our hoodies

to hide our oiled scalps,

Grinning over lunchtime goodies

until they point and laugh.


We act like we are princesses

even though we do not qualify,

Clamping flat irons and ripping wax strips

so for us, beauty still can apply.


Tweeze, thread, clean, nitpick each place

We kill ourselves to be a choice

of men who recoil at the thought of our race

So we die before we can rejoice.


Wrapped in vibrant fabric, choked by deadly chains,

decorated in silver and gold, stained with trauma and pain,

we fail to be a standard in a world where we’re untouchable.

We sail through streams of tears from years of feeling so unlovable.


But in our misery we fail to recognize our royalty,

Of bodies, that we may despise, but that hold love and loyalty

And generations, centuries, of culture, beauty, grace.

What a shame we ever feel like we have nothing to embrace.

by riaxm

Hi, my name is Ria! I'm an incoming junior at Barnard College of Columbia University, currently living at home in the Bay Area.

I've always enjoyed writing and aim to express feelings and inspire others through poetry. My biggest inspirations for my poems are the "a-ha" moments that I experience, the fairy lights in my room, and words that I simply think just sound good together.

Thanks for checking my writing out! For project inquiries, shoot me an email at riamavin@gmail.com. :)

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