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Aren’t I Pretty

By 

Sharmaine Ong

Sun Li says,

Sharmaine, you’d be

much more pretty

if you tried using

skin whitening

 

but what she means is,

Sharmaine, you would be

much more pretty if you

ripped every piece of brown

girl from your smile,

if you had a different mother,

if you weren’t born on island,

with palm trees, white sand,

beneath Chumurro sun

 

Sharmaine, you would be

a China doll.

a body, a piece of exotic

art men would love to hold

men would grovel for

 

she said, Men love Asian girls

especially ones with faces

pale like full moon

lips red like cheongsom silks

 

Sharmaine,

you would be the girl

men would go to war for

 

but what she means is,

i’m not the kind of girl men

would go to war for

 

Sun Li gives me a bundle of face masks

tells me to cover my blemishes,

hide behind orange peel, lactic acid

mulberry and words I cannot read

words I cannot fathom

 

 

 

 

Sun Li says Not all girls

can be naturally pretty

not all can have the curves of an S

knees that fold like origami swan

 

Sun Li says Sharmaine

you will never be beautiful

Sharmaine

You will never be enough

Sharmaine

You have to nip & tuck

Sharmaine

paint your nails

Sharmaine

trim your split ends

 

Sharmaine,

Sharmaine,

Sharmaine

 

 

 

 

there is a girl

in the mirror-

unrecognizable

 

Sun Li whispers

into her ear

 

until there’s no

Sharmaine

left

to call

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Issue 20

published 

July 4, 2017

As of May 2016, Sharmaine Ong graduated with a Bachelor of Arts and Science in English with a concentration in Creative Writing at the University of New Mexico and is currently pursuing an MFA in Creative Writing at St. Joseph’s College Brooklyn Campus. She has interned for The Blue Mesa Review Literary Magazine and has written articles for College Candy, Spoon University, picVpic, and CAPS UNM. In October 2016 her creative flash essay, “Americana,” was published by the Hippocampus Literary Magazine. Follow her on Instagram @Asian.Girl.Dreaming

i dont feel like fininishing this website right now and i am sorry

I honestly thought

one of my favorite authors

had lost his marbles.

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Issue 20

This writing was originally published in Opium Magazine, and is not listed in the Lit.cat archives.
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