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Color Me Nothing
by Jade A. del Castillo

I never belonged to brown
the way my ancestors did.
I have never owned olive
or even burnt-sienna.
I’ve never worn a color
that allowed me to belong.

Malayans will not take me
into their brown hut villages.
They will not hold my tanned hands.
They fear the white that bleached me.
They do not know I come from
Ireland and Austria and
from the country they call home.
They do not know we share ancient blood,
that we are kin, separated
Only by color.

My eyes are neither oval
nor slitted like button-holes.
But they are mine and I am
still a Filipina child.
And I come from the Spanish
Who invaded you, my country.

And I will always call you home,
even if you don’t know me
and my colors repulse you,
because it was You, you that
gave me my rainbow color.

You that colored me nothing.

© Jade A. del Castillo
     painting by Waway Linsahay Saway

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