(inspired by Danez Smith’s “alternate names for black boys”)

  1. not cho chang

  2. not mulan, not jasmine

  3. not your quiet submissive petite passive girl

  4. not your belly dancer

  5. not your engineer not your doctor not your scientist not your mathematician not your laundress not your cleaner not your manicurist not your telemarketer

  6. kin of mothers and grandmothers and great grandmothers who bore the brunt of colonizers and imperialists and their wars and their sexual slavery and their partitioning of land and their separation of families

  7. shades of dark brown and chocolate and caramel and cream and gold and olive and peach and everything beyond and in between

  8. tongues of two thousand three hundred languages

  9. oceans away

  10. the soil under my feet and the sky above my head

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