Skip to content
Contact USI

& the white girl tells me i need to marry a Latino man so that my kids can be the world

by Em Dial

if there was a time when no one had yet convinced me that i am more suitcase
than body / i do not remember it

my greenfruited organs are tasked with a premature gorging

but i am 10 or 11 & so is she & maybe we just finished a chapter about columbus
& maybe that is why she has this fascination with turning me into both shipbelly
and cargo & so i nod my head and smile

through baby teeth / my baby limbs apply herself onto papier-mâché globe

i am from 3 continents & settled on a 4th that whispers in my ear / that antarctica
is uninhabitable / that indigenous australians do not exist

& so all of the landmass south of “america” becomes the final acquisition to be made

my slumbering womb / a feasting palm

i name the children globalization&postracialsociety but they are pronounced like
imperialism&imperialism & i place them in daycare but they get devoured &

sometimes i have dreams that i am pregnant&choking & i can’t tell the difference

& i am 10 or 11 & already terrified of penetration&appetite &

the white girl tells me she was a petri dish baby & yet i am the one that is experiment

& everyone keeps saying mixed kids are always the most beautiful at me and my
brother without bothering to floss first &

first grade i watched the movie The Blob with my grandparents & cried because
what kind of Thing eats up people & is still shapeless

& sometimes i have dreams where i awake already engulfed in The Blob & didn’t
even get the chance to run &

awaiting my period feels like awaiting death

if i don’t have kids do i stop being beautiful

10- or 11-year-old me hopes she might be sterile like a mule

i don’t want to be beautiful

i want to be swallowed by an ocean i can call my own

if children are legacy then let mine be
every nectaring kiss i place on a friend’s cheek &
every drop of non-land my skin has ever touched &
every pink eraser scrubbing away a penciled boundary &
every pleasure that blooms across my landscapes &
every inch we shift back towards pangea &
every time i say no thank you
& my kids will be the world & my kids will be the world & my kids will be the
world & my barren body will dissolve its borders into nitrogen and phosphorous
& one day will birth a tree bearing every fruit

"& the white girl tells me i need to marry a Latino man so that my kids can be the world" came together as a vessel to hold years of a very quiet rage. Although the poem begins in a small moment from childhood, it swirls out into larger discomforts with the discussion of the reproductive potential of multiracial people. I wanted to lay out this perversity in making wombs into sites of exploration and colonization and explore the tension therein between disgust and wonder. I was able to find some peace in where the poem ends, in a defiant refusal that I wish I could have armed my younger self with. 

Em Dial is a queer, triracial poet and educator born and raised in the Bay Area. She is an alum of the Stanford Spoken Word Collective and slam team, as well as the Youth Speaks Artist Corps. They have received the Hoefer Prize for Excellence in Undergraduate Writing from Stanford University and Best Poet Award at the 2017 College Unions Poetry Slam Invitational.