Volume 26, Number 1

Poem about Race

write about           your struggles
          as a second generation           Chinese American whatever
                    Write about your half asian high school class
and the high school boys who get tattoos across the street, how your white
          statistics teacher told you           that some things are mutually exclusive.
There are names we are not allowed to call each other.
          Write about the asian losers in Chinese class.           Write about
how you just need your damn high school credits
          so you can graduate.                     Write about
the kids           who don’t graduate their first try.
Write about the asian girls going after the white guys. The Korean   church
          by the swimming pool.           How you and your black friend
played there, once, and she joked about getting you baptized among lane ropes.
          About how sometimes you need a blessing to do something.
                    A Chinese kid didn’t get into           advanced orchestra and
was arrested   later   for selling weed.
                    Write about acting your own race.
          The Native American kid who looks white. White
people love reading about that shit.   Remember to make it sad.

—Emily Zhang