Poison Panties By Saya Iwasak

Poison Panties

Growing up Japanese,
I was a neutral panties kind of gal.
Most of my underwear bordered on the cusp of granny panties,
brown, white, light florals.

Since moving to America,
the chromatic sampling of my underwear drawer indicates,
I have indeed shifted in some way.
Electric blue and fluorescent pink pop out,
next to yellows and whites and reds.
It’s a festival of thongs, brazilians, boyshorts, and more in there.

I guess the Japanese believed panties didn’t need to be flashy.
Perhaps in doing so, it would be a sexual solicitation;
but that’s like saying, girls would be attacked for wearing short skirts.
Maybe there is a bit of reclamation
in my electric blues and fluorescent pink and yellows and whites and reds. That I can deserve to wear color without fear,
even when that color is located in the place I protect the most.

Science books tell us to avoid frogs and snakes and insects
that have pops of blues and yellows and reds,
for it’s how these creatures warn predators that they are not weak –
they can be dangerous.

Similarly, maybe there is verity in the fierce pride and protection I feel, when I slip these colors on.

By Saya Iwasak


Saya Iwasaki writes poetry reflecting the emotional burden that stems from existing in today’s society. Having grown up in multiple international societies as a Japanese woman, her poetry straddles the dualities of being a woman continuously searching for her identity and belonging while living with trauma and dissociation. Formerly an art teacher and graphic designer, Saya received her MA in Education at Stanford and went on to immerse herself in the tech world. Poetry is her foray into herself.

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