Asian/American

I am not a minority, I am
little more than two decades old, I

shed names like a load of textbooks sliding,
catching on
the zipper of my parents’ mouths

I eat rice with every meal
not because it is cheap but because it
tastes good with
adobo,
with sinigang,
with the kaldereta
my mother never taught me how to make, though
I can no longer recall the last time
she sat down with us at
the dinner table

To the men I make love to I am
Dragon Lady
Porcelain Doll
Konichiwa? Anyong-haseyo?
That one local newscaster of the
token persuasion

I am not a minority, but
my children are
even as they exist
dormant in my mouth

because of me
they will never know
that their mother was once just
a girl,
a burden to her parents
a lead in the school play
a colorless white sheet
hoisted high on a metal pole

but for now I am carrying
a fresh water stream in a paper cup
clinging to the alleys between continents
making up fault lines as I
go along

 

Originally published in The Fat City Review