identity, diluted.

i am 

but still

am not-

that is the idea

that powers 

my mind.


i am not the girl with the roughened hands, 

scrapes from fish hooks,

burnt out voice from too many cigarettes 

and not enough dirt-stained dollars in needy hands

to create a semblance of hope.


i am not the sound of 

my ancestor's backs and hearts breaking in 

the sweltering heat, the sound railroads were built 

upon, the heartache of one a family lost

long ago, for their own sake.


i am an amalgation of too many

rich yellow cream cakes and dairy products,

good-luck noodles- sixteen birthdays on my back

the slippery tongue of two languages and not enough fluency

to pass for a native either-

the result of being told so much 

that if i were a tree my branches would 

snap, break, bend, crack-

leaving me limbless for all the world

to see-

i inhale both identities, 

both cultures

and still 

end up less than whole 

of either.



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