Observations by the Only Brown Girl on the Block

Whiteness is skin cream bleaching
your skin 4 shades lighter.
It’s taking what you want,
when you want, how you want.
The why doesn’t matter.
Whiteness is going to the supermarket
and seeing stickers, magnets and key chains
with your perfect name.
It’s your grandparent’s summer cabin
on Indigenous land in cottage country.
Whiteness is home videos and polaroid’s
of your childhood.
It’s a four-car garage.
It’s knowing the names and uses
of different cheeses.
Whiteness is the alphabet soup of
N-words, P-words, H-words
in a low-sodium diet.
Whiteness is being the best you can be,
the best version of yourself,
living your best life,
while doing the downward dog
in new Lululemon pants.

Moni Brar was born in northern India and is now an uninvited settler on unsurrendered territories of the Treaty 7 region and Syilx Okanagan Nation. Her writing explores diasporan guilt, cultural identities, religious violence, and intergenerational trauma. Her most recent work is forthcoming in Passages North, Prairie Fire, and filling Station. She has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and an AMPA award, and shortlisted in poetry contests by PRISM, FreeFall, and Vallum. She believes in the possibility of healing through literature.