By Leon Barros
Salterns harvest the ocean Don’t you know all Filipinos pray facing Manila
is barren Nothing grows there anymore It is tradition to salt cities asphyxiate soil make sure you can never come
back I smell brimstone from 3,000 miles away The sun rises in the west and I’m always a day behind
California is edging the Pacific is my second home is drying up One giant salt flat Salt pillar I am
told California is the place of work for over one million Filipinos No one really lives here Don’t you know all our sweat tears
blood goes through Western Union I am 70% saline I know there’s salt in the mountains east of here I choose
apartments based on their proximity to the Bay I am hunted by a memory I come to America for American progress SFO JFK
Airplanes are “tools of globalization” “tools of class mobility” I book roundtrips make it easier to pilgrimage
home for Christmas Philippine-American relations have always been complicated Don’t you think I know that I am popular
BuzzfeedVideo topic Americans Australians try Filipino Dishes Street food delicacies If I hear one more white person tell me
it’s too salty I keep salt in my pocket I was born belly-full of brine I am one question in your U.S. History Exam in which I am
traded from one empire to another for the salt price I am nothing if not Made in the Philippines
deep-sea Capiz-shell chandelier from West Elm tells me I have made it well enough to turn my back and look eastward to
nothing grows here except along the edge of the dead ocean Salt harvests in shallow pools Don’t you know drinking
seawater only makes you thirstier waterlogged lungs evaporate and I am drowning Don’t you know no one ever really leaves the city Don’t you know I am always looking back
Anna who is Indian and me who is White, removing our body hair
By Sarah Gabrielle Adler
She begs, “clean my eyebrows,”
tiptoes up to a
white-tiled bathroom, carefully selects
the plastic mirror we
beneath our under parts.
Harmless light rays
cut the clean bathroom floor
and she yelps while
I tug out her thick Indian stalks,
tug until they are shivering naked
fish with fat trimmed off, gutted clean,
sticking to my fingertips.
We stand naked and
we stood naked
examined our under parts.
We both saw our pinking folds.
But now, we stand naked
and her face is more pink
than anything we saw
in the mirrors below.
Is this what it means to be best friends?
To find where she is white too?