borderline borderless bordering

Damian Wang

An eye for an eye is the coward’s way out.


I learned the hard way that head trauma is hardly fair,

which some kids are forced to endure for the lack of white they contain.

The more melanin you retain, the more damning the melancholy that follows.


When I’m forced to question the relevance of where are you from and I answer here.

Here, I’m from here no, where are you really from 

I cannot help but think, I don’t know

how to satisfy you.


I’m hungry for an answer too.


It’s palpable in the are you an immigrant that the Target cashier spits out,

the terracotta of my mother’s skin heating, the tectonic plates of her shoulders fracturing,

and my hands sweat glue as I piece her back together, my arm curved around tattooed shame.


The plateau of her face has never known peace.


Broken English chases me even though I was born here,

because my mother is All Broken and no english.

How is it possible to exist when your own damn mother is

worth Less Than White?


The difference between knowing and wondering is buried in my mother’s bones,

the aches that she kneads when no one is looking. There’s no room for her own grief when

do you bow when you greet other Ayy-gee-uhns? her spine crumbles under mouth traffic,

mouth lost and mouthing at spoiled spice.


I thought color was the only difference.


But when whiteness encompasses all

that I Am Not

and all that she never was,

I mourn how the sun rises from the West.

Damian Wang is a city boy who wears his heart on his sleeve and enjoys rainy days, hunting for boba, eating ramen, reading comics, doing JoJo poses, and inhaling the dusty aroma of old books. He has an 8-year-old cat named Miu Miu who likes to play feline editor by bodily key-smashing incoherent lines into his works. A lover of poetry, Damian currently majors in English at UCLA with a concentration in creative writing. As the son of a diplomat, Damian uses his extensive cultural experiences as the backdrop of his writing, while exploring themes of gender, race, and loss.