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This poem is about the alienation of sacrificing culture and heritage to fit in. It's about the false promise that America is a melting pot, where all cultures mix together. The reality is immigrants and their children trade off parts of their history and identity to fit in, to try to be what people demand, and then finding that they are still not enough.

I remember

peeling off one identity for another,

only to learn nothing from it but


Cocooned in a nest of blood red

envelopes and yogurt drinks only to be

dropped into the abyss of elementary

school. I remember

a girl

telling me my dumplings smelled weird.

a mountain of indignities-

I've learned to shred my heritage into scraps,

shoving the mangled bits they like into

caricatured stories and clothes.

I made deals with the devil, my classmates,

trading tonal inflections for European

conjugations, steamed fish for chicken

nuggets. Later, I dipped my tongue in

Cantonese and Mandarin only to find I'm

too coated in red, white, and blue that an

accent sticks to my words like glue.

They didn't tell me my scraps would

become me, this mosaic of school lunches

and half-remembered phrases. I once went

out on the 4th of july only for a fuckboy to

slither out and ask me to say hi in

'my language'

My deals with the devil have locked me

out-too Asian for Americans and too

American for Asians. I feel robbed, walled

off from the past by a language barrier

and staring into the smoking gun of an

American future where my non-Christian

beliefs no longer belong. Now, I hold these

mangled scraps in my star-spangled

hands and wonder if this is all I will ever


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