Lantern Review: A Journal of Asian American Poetry
Issue 2 | Winter 2011

You ask me if I'm from
Any country but here

But I'm from right HERE
Raised in the suburbs of Maryland
Feasting on crabs, rice, and Mickeedees
Riding on training wheels
And the promise of a better life

Here where being somebody
Was built on the habitual ceremonies
Of dance parties and underage drinking
In the fog of second hand smoke
Where I come from
Slanted eyes brought beef
Mall rat packing
And five finger discount adrenaline rushes
Here in my hometown where suburban kids
Try to live their ghetto dreams

Here where I had to explain women’s garb that looked like a bedsheet
Red dots on foreheads and why my friends could only be female
Spent my youth living up to stereotypes like ‘good sheltered Asian girl’
While dreaming of being a ‘bad free American girl’