Yellow

Literature Default
a poem by Amber Ting

Dear Asian Youth,


It’s six letters with a double L

Ballet, allure, pollen, hollow - small


We’re on an outdoor stage

The sunflowers are in full bloom


My skin tone doesn’t match the slippers


Light places a sandpaper kiss against my lips

Yellow confetti’s strung around my hips like a choker:

A forgotten afternoon or purposefully left-behind heirloom


It’s the name of a Coldplay song


The first time I heard “Yellow” in Chinese, I played it on repeat

I wanted to dance, but - by then - I’d stopped tapping my feet

It’s not the stars that make the night sky complete


Yellow is the soft, incandescent flicker of light bulbs and neon signs

They light up Chinatown at 11PM while store owners sigh


Mud-stained streets

Beneath them: dark, dirty feet


Yellow is liminal space and not being seen

It’s knowing you’ll never be clean


Yellow is feeling small and not having space

Yellow is not feeling safe


Yellow is heartache and drowning in ocean waves

It’s shaking when you hear a gunshot and wondering what will be left in your wake


Asian Girl, will you leave behind memories? Or just dreamscapes and a splash of paint?


Yellow is loving the color inside of you

It’s also wishing you could trade the paint buckets for something more plain


It’s unimaginable pain when I turn on the news


But yellow is also a celebration


It’s Dragon festival lanterns - their flames a technicolor exaltation

Fireworks spark through the night like an exhalation


Inhale. Exhale. Sunlight filtered through the leaves like Gold and Aromatherapy

That Tuesday, but I can breathe, so I’ll be grateful today


Yellow is quiet circulation


Yellow is not the plastic, white stars on my bedroom ceiling

Yellow is an entire constellation


It’s Artemis chasing Orion in a never-ending loop

Something akin to the tune of ouroboros that I would like to dance to


Yellow is a


Visible

Painful

Beautiful


Reminder


That I am not small


I am not nothing, but an infinitude of thoughts, feelings, and experiences

That cannot be defined


Bathed in yellow - as I have always been and always will be

I am in love with my life.


- Amber Ting


Cover Photo Source: https://www.wabe.org/vox-atl-teen-looks-at-colorism-outdated-beauty-standards-in-asian-community/