lather it onto your skin,
let it soak into your pores,
let it burn, let it burn, let it burn,
funny how it burns when what it does is make you light,
they package it in the fanciest plastic jars,
pretty pink lettering, pretty pink letting, pretty light skin.
pictures of women zipping the outer
the outer, darker layer, only to reveal a
smiling porcelain beauty,
can I be you,
how come when i pull at my skin
i don’t hear the zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzip
how come when I pull at my skin
i don’t see the smile.
I pick 3 of the offenders out of the line-up,
i have three of their jars on my dresser,
they watch me as I undress,
they stare at every inch of me, sweating in their unopened boxes.
I’ll package you up and call you colónizer,
smelling musty, hard, like a journey
on a boat,
and on the box under the little N°5 sign
I’ll write indentured slave and tie the bottle with the rinds from a sugar cane stalk sucked dry.
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.