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.