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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 Heng - Author Photo.jpg

Jenna Heng

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. 

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