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Sixteen, Female, Black
Words by Dana Chiueh
Image by Gretchen Gales
*Editor's Note: This has been previously published in S/tick Journal.
he asks me what color my jeans are as i twist a lock of hair.
a habit i haven’t relapsed into since age ten. i say cerulean.
my favorite crayon in kindergarten.
he says they look good. that i can pull it off because i have the body.
what an ugly word relapse is.
wake up to a barricade of plastic limbs and mournful melodies.
angry shouts. like the first day of school integration, louisiana, 1962.
call them by name; leona, tessie, gail. the mcdonough three, and ruby.
still, all the mannequins at the neighborhood mall are white.
they don’t wear the jeans as good as I do.
that’s what he said, anyway.
here’s a drinking game,
take an illegal shot every time you see another white girl
at this party with lip plumpers or injections.
whatever. everyone here knows they’re fake as her weave.
you call this appreciation? funny,
persecution never sounded like appreciation to our ancestors,
to our hair straightener mornings.