“Dulce” by Shilie Ahadi

A taste of gluttony sits on my tongue—
Syrupy sweet; it rots my teeth. It drools
And it runs my lip-insides slippery.
Who am I to feel sorry for these men?
Their women, thicker-boned, dark olive skinned—
“Those poor things”—bear the brunt of the burden.
Lurking in shadows, behind the speckled
Blurs of scattered colors; tanned hands that search
Deliver to these light olive stomachs
Necessary excess as a standard,
Built on the backs of laborers, burning
Under, by the same sun that burned backs black
Producing syrup that ran white despite
The blood run over it, under it, through
Into its very foundation. Now fill
My stomach; saturate it gluttonous,
Burning-backs, you poor, lowly beings (not
beings, just hand-muscles, just burnt backs) burn
It syrup ’til it runs white, cold—no trace
Of any blood from backs, non-hearts, cut hands—
Like my skin, like my blood, empty white; powdered
White granules are worth more than your life.

Shilie Ahadi moved here from Iran very young and grew up in Orange County and likes to incorporate themes of disconnectedness and disillusion in her work. She is 22, currently studying Comparative Literature at UCLA.


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