Saudade Accuses Brown Girl

“Saudade Accuses Brown Girl” started out and at first seems to be the exploration of a love story that gets sidetracked by racial and cultural differences. But after spending more time with it, I came to understand it as also the coming-of-age of a girl who realizes that she deserves more than what those that demand her to erase a piece of herself can ever give.

We were children or maybe
you were & I was just trapped

in the belief of one. Even now
every memory is tinged with moonlight.

No one believes me when I say
you were a natural blonde as if a nocturnal couldn’t

approach the light without bleeding. Did you notice
how invisible we were to the trains that passed

our suburb with nowhere to go.
Or maybe they did have plans & I was just

preoccupied in wishing to leave like a rapture.
No one believes me when I say I couldn’t have

done better. As if a moon could
hide under my fingertips without leaking

all over you. As if a gentle rage could
make you change your mind. We were children after all

or maybe that was how you justified it, invisible even
to yourself. Could you stand it, loving an accented tongue,

a brown skin. I always did smell different
from the white girls, all green mangoes and spices

where the subtle notes of Bath & Body fruit mist
should have been. Where the forced laughter should have been. You hated it

when I was honest about your terrible
jokes. No one believes me when I say you stole

all your pick-up lines from Reddit threads or maybe
you lied to me about that too. Could you

stand it, your parents’ questions after I left
the family dinner. You never could muster the courage

or maybe I am just wishing to see things differently.
As if a moon could ever lick its own

milk skin. Even now every memory stings bitter
like the unexpected aftertaste of green mangoes flushed with salt.

Yvanna Vien Tica is a Filipina writer with a hearing impairment who grew up in Manila and a suburb near Chicago. Her poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Verse Daily, Poet Lore, Shenandoah, Poetry Northwest, The Rumpus, and Salt Hill, among others. She reads for Muzzle Magazine, tweets @yvannavien, and will attend Yale University in the fall. In her spare time, she can be found enjoying nature and thanking God for another day.



2021 Prose Chapbook Winner
Resistance, Sue Mell (an excerpt)
A Conversation with Sue Mell and Sara Siddiqui Chansarkar, Prose Chapbook Winner and Finalist, Maria S. Picone, Managing Editor

Cataloging Ghosts, Carlos Contreras
Dalí, Renée Jessica Tan
How To Use Your Father’s Lawn Mower, Yasmin Nadiyah Phillip
Our Trespassing, Joel Worford
The Puddling, Mattea Heller


Il Lupo Mannaro, Stephanie Staab
When it happens, you let it happen, Lynne Schmidt
Holiday Party 2017, Kim Ellingson
Ninety Days, Remi Recchia
The Universe, as in One Last Song for the Lonely Hearts, Michelle Hulan
Saudade Accuses Brown Girl, Yvanna Vien Tica
windmills over Zaandam, Gabriela Gonzales
Fold the Shadows, Cate McGowan
Intercession, Sasha Wade


Fluidity, Patrick van Raalten
Yellow Purse, William C. Crawford
Blankness Was the Beauty, Carolyn Guinzio
Telephone, Moses Ojo
Skin Over Milk Cover Art, Oormila Vijayakrishnan Prahlad
Egress, Phil Temples