Balance

By Serena Sethi

you do not get to
accuse my father
of kidnapping me
because his brown hand
was around my white,
then comb your blonde hair
with your henna hands.

you do not get to
embarrass sikh men
and call them pakis,
then laugh loudly at
russell peters’ jokes.

you do not get to
wear your tight lulu’s
in a downward dog,
while mocking our god,
the “cute elephant”.

you do not get to
enjoy the trendy
aspects of cultures
but dismiss the rest
as cheap and dirty.

we are not costumes
at your disposal.
don’t keep ignoring
our pain and our truth.

don’t ignore the girl
who cries quietly
because you told her
a bronze complexion
isn’t good enough.

take her fragile hand,
wipe her tears away
and reassure her
that dark chocolate
is as sweet as white.