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Diversity is a curse.

And failure to revel in the opaque vowels of the lettered white-man

is a sin worthy of excommunication.

Why introduce knotted tongues to the purity of a neatly-woven America?


I have assiduously re-programmed myself

to regard my tongue as nothing less than “American”—

prideful of having sloughed my tongue of its Asian snake-skin,

no longer labeled as a “migrant” worth shunning

by the clunky inflections that arrest her foreign tongue.


Yet my mother sits at her vanity with a glass of wine,

laboriously mouthing an ill-fitting language in the mirror,

her tongue clumsily dancing a tango, not knowing that America

is a waltz.


And though my mother’s American label reads “alien,” “intruder,” “displaced,”

I feel my own tongue paralyzed by an unexpected shame,

for despite my efforts I have found,

that as unnatural and alien as is my mother’s tongue,

that in escaping the foreigner’s label,

I am a different kind of refugee,

One adrift from her own identity.

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