Hannah Keziah Agustin, "Dayuhan"

Dayuhan
Under tutelage for a half-century
The flags are raised and it’s blue, white, and red
3 stars and yet no sun to call this land ours
Raped by black suits and suitcases
Birthed children more ashen than ash
          The weight of wanting to be white
           In brown wombs

Scraped the brown off my skin clean thinking it was dirt
Spoke a language my ancestors don’t understand
Drank OJ and ate burgers in the sala
Watched basketball on pay-per-view
Watch America through my Capiz glass windows
           Pacific and a shade lighter away
           My grandfather’s blood on his hands
           His tongue in my mother’s mouth

For years, I’ve been guilty for wanting a body that isn’t my
own
For yearning to be a little whiter, taller, more American
Whitewashing my lineage with thin bleach
           Brown-- the color of feces, dirt, chain
           smoker’s mouth, rotten wood, my
           grandmother’s skin as it wrinkles down the
           grave

I’m forgetting these brown hands
For getting molded by a heritage owned by another
           I wish that the face in front of the mirror isn’t
           a stranger to my bloodline
I spit in hopes of erasing the stale accent off my mouth
But this disguise is a failed attempt at confessing
                      On why I still sound American