2017 ME, Jessica Gleason

2017 Me
by Jessica Gleason

am no more
than the sum of my parts
labeled female
	though non-binary in real life
	not just on TV
	preferring to be a Mediterranean pacific islander
	location not-withstanding
My genetics
	bridge continents
	and unfurl on either side of
	White America
spectrum-skinned Italians
	with short cherub frames
Hawaiians, done medium-well, tall and sturdy
	in the middle to form
	imperfect me.

Judged on my face
	my waist—
		the curves that are simply a part
		of my anatomy
But, I live on the fringe,
	with the other minorities
	and ostracized by them
	as well,
Often mistreated
	by an outdated regime
	the misogynistic majority.

Just white-looking enough
	to pass	
	sometimes unseen
Privilege, they call it
	given by a less discerning eye
	one that says
	“You, You’re Anglo.	
	One of us.
	For now.
	Until you’re not.”
And, that toe, dipped in Midas-water
	is fallible
They sometimes see me, my parts
	eyes not round enough,
	face, flatter than most;
	nose-wider-but not in a Ukrainian way.
	In the right light, not pink enough.
The short list of characteristics
	that make me, not
	good enough—
		illegal, stupid, poor, bad driver
		all based on misplaced ethnicity—ethnocentrism
And, all of a sudden I’m angry
	for someone else—someone besides me.

That privilege, ripped back away
	placed in a box for some
	to open another day.
They make you feel shame
	for the things that set you apart--
	Shame for being a part of 
	someone else’s 

My ancestors were strong—
	But, I think it’s my own struggles that define me.
Still, I know
	there’s a warrior in me,
	someone who will fight
	her people, stand up
	even the most powerful entity—
	do what’s 
	and fair
	and moral

Regardless of how futile it seems
to be.
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About barkingsycamores 183 Articles
Barking Sycamores is a literary journal entirely edited and operated by queer neurodivergent people of color. We publish poetry, artwork, short fiction (beginning with Issue 3), creative nonfiction (beginning with Issue 8), and hybrid genre work (beginning with Issue 9) by emerging and established neurodivergent writers as well as essays on neurodiversity and literature and book reviews (beginning with Issue 10).

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