Sarah Wang

I am of mixed race
I am half White
half Asian
I envied
I wanted
dress me in stylish clothing
get me a good haircut
rectify this
allow me to bleach my hair blonde
make my hair blonde
for a full bleaching
I was so silly
with black hair
the weird hair
day stood in a corner
notice it
pat my head

This is a blackout/redaction poem I wrote from a letter exchange with my incarcerated pen pal. Under the constraints of censorship, this conceptual text addresses what it is possible to say and what is left unsaid in such communications. When navigating carceral surveillance and the power structures experienced behind, between, and beyond bars, how can writers express themselves? How can they share their identities and concerns about identity with each other?