of selves

how many other
young, brown-skinned
short-statured girls
dreamt as i dreamt

of waking into a next,
an other life
with more money, less melanin
and european heritage?

standing in a shower with
muted pink walls
trying to imagine what
it would be like
to have a life like
the non-Asian people on TV

wondering whether i
could will myself into
that alternate reality

if i could close my
eyes and wake from
my existence

this was
before i learned to
revel, to treasure
this existence,
these stories,
these connections

this was
before i learned to
accept that we are all
sites of battle
with the selves we
have been given

that we are our own
allies and enemies
and each has a
different set of weapons

that we can be
one another’s healers
and we can offer one another
our particular salves