i will never tell you to be
a lady, because ladies were
white, sophisticated women
who dressed like porcelain dolls,
spoke like cooing doves,
and looked at our brown beauty
like it was something savage.
they found our naked breasts tokens,
proof of our colonial subservience.
they walked around with parasols
like they were afraid of the sun,
afraid of their skin darkening
into the pigment of primitive filipina.