Exchange Student

when as a kid, they called you yakuza girl;
so older, you let the ink flower on your skin when
the shade between you and him became so
apparent; when oxford men and leather boys offered the
privilege to be seen by their side; when the dragon apparent
on your arm became a sign of the exotic; when the privilege
was seen as an act of grace until this grace turned in-
to a concession; when this birthright – this prize – was

you, the valley-eyed moon-faced oriental aperitif to a to-
do list; when the boy with sapphire eyes found you,
his milky arms and sunlight hair attempting to undo
how his friends call you “cute”, refuses to say you were his;
when it sparks laughter the way you take off your shoes or how
you say “you wan go?” yet you never hesitate; and when,
token girlfriend, he tries to wrap his arms around you in public, you –
girl with dragon tattoo – pull away, never to be mistaken as a mere token.

Jocelyn Suarez is only sometimes a poet. Actually a nurse, she gathers inspiration from her experience at work, delving into the psychosocial intricacies of human relationships and expounding on issues such as death and human suffering. She has been included in a couple of SingPoWriMo anthologies and has participated in various spoken word events. She hopes to be able to write more poetry beyond the month of April and maybe even adopt a cat.

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