white woman (crocodile) tears
By Olivia Shen
Crocodile tears is a phrase that refers to a false display of emotions, specifically sadness or grief. The term is derived from the phenomenon of crocodiles crying whilst consuming prey.
white woman tears and crocodile tears are one in the same
when tear-stained cheeks cry only for bloody murder
wades in the water with jaws snap that cut through my sinews and snaps my bones
her gluttony powers her cruelty which smears the water with my red
but when i look, she looks, he looks, they look, the world looks… she cries,
weeping through her fleshy swallows and crimson teeth, she mourns,
tear after tear as she devours and weeps me
her tears fall, marbleizing the blood stained waters
her appetite is satiated (for now)
her strikes will subdue (she sinks back into the water)
her tears will dry (the water is settling)
(and her cruelty which shaped my mutilation is hidden in her stomach, my pain has dissipated into the heat of the air, my echoing cries smothered)
so it is quiet, because she has been fed, but in death i smile
because the water will always be tainted pink
and when the water calms, she is
Girls Write Now On the Other Side of Everything: The 2023 Anthology
Do you know what it’s like to communicate with your family across a salty ocean’s divide? Do you want the sun and moon to enter your home with stories written in embers? Do you seek voices that will punctuate the darkness? Welcome to the other side of everything. It’s the other side of silence, the other side of childhood, the other side of hate, the other side of indifference, it’s the other side of sides, where the binary breaks down. It’s a new paradigm, a destination, a different perspective, a mindset, a state of openness, the space between the endless folds in your forehead, hopes for tomorrow, and reflections on the past. This anthology of diverse voices is an everything bagel of literary genres and love songs, secrets whispered in the dark of night, conversations held with ancestors under the sea.
I was inspired to write this poem after a lesson about racism during my AP U.S. History class. We learned about how the Tulsa Race Massacre was incited after a white woman falsely accused a Black teenager of sexual assault. I was reminded of how the weaponization of white women’s fragility for the purpose of upholding racism is akin to that of crocodile tears, a.k.a. falsified grief.
Olivia Shen is a Gemini sun, Gemini moon and Cancer rising high school senior based in the Bay Area. Her passions include humanitarian rights and politics. Her hobbies include writing and learning (beyond school). One of her proudest achievements is when she joined mock trial—she has found a sense of confidence with competing and public speaking in impromptu settings. Her favorite movie is Wes Anderson’s Grand Budapest Hotel.