after Ross Gay
Mine is indecisive skin:
somewhere in between yellow
and off white,
mottled with red at some times,
mottled with scars at all times.
Yellow enough that when mono
ravaged through sixth grade
with symptoms listed as yellow
discoloration of the skin
a kid pointed at me and asked
like that? of it.
I do not write it beautiful
the way Rachel Rostad does:
“[my skin] was pacific sunset,
almond milk, a porcelain cup.”
I prefer to indulge in the comfort
of sweaters and long pants and hair
framing my cheeks, hiding
what my eyes my hair my name
give away. Joseph loved me
for my eyes my hair my name not
my skin said
I don’t like your skin tone,
and I took this criticism as cruel and probably
fell a little bit out of love with him that night,
with his Asian anime schoolgirl fetish
with his white boy privilege
but do you really think I’m talking to you about my skin?
Jenna is a graduate student at SIUE working towards a Master of Arts in English Literature. She is from Kansas City, received a BA from SIUE in 2021, and currently resides in St. Louis with her two roommates and their foster cat.