Kellie Toyama


I’ve always been here
on the pages buried under white-out and expensive ink,
at least when not torn out entirely.

(Isn’t it sad how I had to go to a private library to learn about myself? 
Storybook tales too faded in my living relative’s minds—
they’d barely been alive before they were colonized). 

I’m so lucky that I like to read, and have the mind
to lift the white veil they tossed on my head as an infant, 
and see without clouded separation.

Hey Adora

There was never a gracious, all-relieving exhale 
No big kiss from her on the Ferris wheel 

My blanket twisted into a shawl of guilt sewed to my shoulders
And I was too old at eighteen

Now I’ll just have to reinvent time and space
With my friends de-petrifying in the pews behind me

And it’s a little exciting, running like this
Getting to cut little slices of heaven from a stolen loaf of bread

I am almost sad for those who’ll never know
How sweet air tastes after you pry a fist from your neck

And how celebratory it all is 
When you find you can make family out of fabric, not blood

Kellie Toyama is an Okinawan poet, graphic designer, and movie buff from Hawaii. With a BA in English, she is currently pursuing a master’s degree in Cinema Studies and can be tipped on Venmo: @kxllie.