Pacific Borderhopper


Once, a boy goaded on by his friends

yelled “BORDERHOPPER” in my face.

(I must have a very large stride, then,

to have hopped the Pacific Ocean.)

To be fair, it was middle school.

Perhaps his geographical knowledge

had yet to develop.

Maybe he thought Asia was in Mexico.


We all make mistakes.


Once, a girl looked at me with concern

and asked, “If you’re from China,

how come you’re not dead?”

(Oh my God, Karen. You can’t just

ask someone why they’re not dead.)

“You know, we’re not actually female-hating,

baby-killing people,” I replied.

She looked at me skeptically.

“Huh,” she said.


It gets worse.


I have been termed “other,” an alien

Whose only purpose in life is to

“steal American jobs” and be

“really frickin’ Communist” and

“wow, you’re an immigrant?

When are you leaving?” because

“Just go back to your own country.”


I came here carrying the

Dreams of generations

Hopes of a family

Aspiration for more



They are weighed down


by the heavy stone of




in their hearts


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