Peer Review by Shanti (New Zealand)

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a girl of color in a pale world

By: lightwormtrash


FREE WRITING


my daughter asks me why her skin is brown
  • like sweet milk swirled into bitter coffee
and why her eyes aren’t blue or green
  • “why are they so dark, mama? i want blue eyes like ashley novak”
she asks me why her thighs touch
  • “these jeans don’t fit, mama”
she asks me why her jeans don’t fit her properly
and why her adolescent chest is forced into a bra
and why she can’t eat meat on certain days and weeks and months
she asks me why i wear a bindi on my forehead
everyday, and why i light a diya everyday
one day she shows me a painting she made,
and she’s the center of it-
beautifully colorful among a canvas of blond and brunette,
of ivory and white skin; and she wrote:
                                                                “a girl of color in a pale world”                    
a question didn’t pass her

a diya is a candle lit for worship/celebration by indians/and other cultures. a bindi is the "red dot" indian women wear on their forehead- it is seen as decoration and a symbol of marriage. 

Peer Review

"like sweet milk swirled into bitter coffee" I love the image that you use.


so much empathy, because I have been told that I speak good english in my passport country, and I know that so many others share the experience of skin-based isolation, and I'm lucky that I haven't experienced this more.


Are these real questions and answers or poetic constructions? (it doesn't matter...but I'm just curious) And why did you choose to show how culture and looks interact?


Reviewer Comments

This is really lovely. I think you may want to consider the format a little (e.g. why do you answer the first three questions but not the ones afterwards) and think about transitions (how do you segway into the painting part of the poem) but overall, I really enjoyed reading this.