In this Japanese Chinese American skin
color of roasted sunflowers
after a long laze in the sun
I breathe on behalf of those not here –
My grandfather, whose very hands
labored in liquor stores so I could breathe freely
My mother and father, my spiritual teachers.
I am breathing

On this land
once settled by Ohlone tribes
colonized by light skinned Spanish carrying guns
A Black man is not breathing –
Autopsy says “asphyxiation from sustained pressure”,
Should also include the anti-Blackness
Perpetrated by
a government intent on preserving white immunity
a police force that values black life less than property

On this land in 1942
over 100,000 shades of sunflower skin were
incarcerated, stripped of land and property
declared resident enemy aliens in their home country
by a president intent on “winning the war” at any cost, invisible the cost of sunflower lives
Breathing in desert air, herded like cattle into horse stables
Called traitors, even as their sons served in American uniform

In Hawaii,
once inhabited by sea-faring Polynesians
colonized by white explorers controlling sugar
Sunflower skin was the labor force exploited for profit
this yellow skin too vital to the white plantation
to be shipped anywhere, and so we stayed
an instrument for white prosperity
Never white enough

Today the white man
Wielding money, power, and land
stolen from Black bodies,
native peoples and sunflower laborers
has deemed me acceptable
seventy years after enslaving those that look like me.

I in this Asian body am silent, silently grateful
to be a model minority, protected because there is
another to blame
holding my breath that there isn’t a war with China
wondering why I have the privilege of joy
ashamed, afraid
Black bodies are dying
Palestinian lands annexed
The cost borne by those with dark skin

Part of me wants to drown in the
solidarity of suffering
to deny myself the pleasure of rest or
wellbeing while the world burns –
and yet this is futile and vapid,
a white fragility carried by a sunflower girl

I carry my fragility with soft and gentle hands,
knowing that crocodile tears evaporate at the
slightest taste of sun, that true solidarity is not a
post on social media but long-term sustainable action
based in love, joy, a well of wellbeing that allows me to
show up again and again for others with
a peaceful heart and open mind.

To do otherwise is to
perpetuate damage out of a longing to
belong to another's suffering.

The yoke of slavery has been borne by the black body
for 500 years and it must end.
I will fight to see justice delivered –
not from the heavens
but from my own body,
resting in a place of wellbeing and peace,
from the collective body of the people living on this land
each of us with our palms up, asking our gods for deliverance
This is my inheritance, and I am ready.