I Grew Up Watching Anime

Photo: © Nadia Belalia. All Rights Reserved.

Forgive me Father
for in this poem
I am trying to be Christian.

To become was the first signal
for these bones to call for break.
In my face, everyone is seeing

my mother. I must prep
for war. I must cover my teeth
in charcoal, bury my face

in mud. The race is never going
to be over. I must transform.
Back in the day, transforming

meant how little
girls would lift off
from the ground

and spin in an elaborate sequence.
Where after the pink backgrounds
burst into animated stars

they would emerge in slow
motion in tiaras and capes,
holding staffs and other priestly

weapons. Everyone everywhere
was always saved. I must defend
myself. In the South

of Vermont, the call for prayer
would ring from my folks’
phones, and I would gather

my neck back into my fur.
Hiding was the only way
for God to seek me. I must

crack every dawn
with a sledgehammer. I must
pray: I will be a good girl,

I will not eat myself
into a pig.
Naruto grew up
with an animal inside him

and Sasuke kept losing
his ability to see. All Edward
and Alphonse wanted

was to use alchemy
to bring back the dead,
and I am not hundred percent

confident I would not have done
what Yagami Light did.
Everyone turned out fine.

I think. I did go to a church
once. I am not sure
what kind. A white flake

was put on the tip
of my sour tongue,
but in my stead

it was my mother’s mouth
that swallowed down
my crimes.

Ayesha Raees identifies herself as a hybrid creating hybrid poetry through hybrid forms. She was a 2018-2019 Margins Fellow at the Asian American Writers’ Workshop where she also heads a monthly Poetry Salon for Asian American Poets. Born in Lahore, Pakistan, she is a graduate of Bennington College, and currently lives in New York City. Her website is http://www.ayesharaees.com

Appears In

Issue 9

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