“Healing requires a soft resistance, steady – slow – relentless”

I used to hate the softness of my body: it consumed me and made my skin cold. Afraid of casting long shadows, I carved at my skin until I was bone, but bones cast shadows and I was desperately trying to erase them with the lights turned off, because shadows disappear when the sun goes down, and so my softness could stay silent under the shade of night.

I used to whiten my yellow skin, and would dream of trading in brown eyes for blue. I would ache for the golden locks that my mother wanted so badly from me, but I could only offer her the same thick black hair. When she gave me her tongue, I could only speak halves instead of wholes, and my black hair was never enough to be yellow skin.

I used to deny my queer body, and it consumed me faster than my hate for softness. Because being two things never fit into any one thing, and being two things meant I was a part of nothing. How do I carry my invisible body on the shoulders of my visible body without collapsing both pairs of lungs? How could I survive the weight of two bodies if I could not even breathe?

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Softness comes from repeatedly breaking bones to the point of ruin in order to reshape them into the molds of past mothers’ hands; hands that have seen more than our eyes.

Softness begins where our tongues meet to flirt with whole and not halves, because two halves do not fill a hole.

Softness will grow under the shade of many shadows, and root itself into our breath to hum into cold ears.

I used to resist my own softness, but today I use my softness as a form of resistance.

Melody Sakura’s poem “Soft Resistance” won third prize in the Fifth Annual School of Visual Arts Writing Program Contest. Melody is a mixed-Asian queer lady from the island of Oahu who moved to NYC to pursue visual arts. She finds comfort in rain smells and tall mountains.