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  • Writer's pictureMarías at Sampaguitas

Poetry by L.R. Dimaandal

“The Recipe to Empathy”

How many spoonfuls of shame must you measure out

To start the recipe of my humanity?

How many grams of unprocessed pain do you need

In the recipe for my validity?

Do you have a sieve to separate out the chunks of my ego

That are too big to be?

Tell me when to stop pouring out my dignity

Are there any napkins we can use?

My bleeding heart’s dripped all over your sleeve

I pray that you open your eyes and look at me

Look over the pages of this recipe

The ingredients you call a remedy

Stirring the pot of You’ll Always Be Better Than Me

I blow until the steam doesn’t

Swallow down a taste of what Real Struggle should be

Born one too many generations late to feel pain

Was immigration a dose of reality or another shot of Novocaine?

Did the birth of my being in a nation of freedom guarantee the ease of my upbringing?

Was it a covenant to a life of comfort? Had I been born blind to the labors of living, numbed to the trials of those that see?

When I was born did my cries sound less alive?

Am I only capable of bleeding in lies?

How, how do they make out an oasis in the shade of my misery?

Do I not sweat and scream as you do?

Do I bleed air and cry out dust?

How many splashes of my insanity will you garnish around the plate?

Is the truth hard to chew or difficult to swallow?

A sprinkling of silence falls on the weight of conversations

Heavy in the air, hanging

How many spoonfuls of shame will it take

To make me human to you?

Why do I have to bleed out just to be able to cry?

Isn’t it exhausting to need to look for proof every time?

How many fluid ounces of liquid trauma do you need

As evidence that I have been hurting?

How much of it will you insist has been imagined and watered down?

What is it going to take for me to hurt like you?

L.R. Dimaandal (she/her) is a Filipina American poet and educator based in California. She explores identity and personal experiences through poetry and the occasional spoken-word, aiming to resonate and connect with other BIPOC.

Instagram: @lr.isonline Website:

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