what do lunchtime and minority book descriptions have in common? by Eva Gu

unless you grasp me by the hair and force almonds into my eyes

unless you smear peach yogurt on my skin, slant me crooked, italicized font always to

default

times new roman, unless my skin is actually made of vanilla flavored cream,

stop making me your character

to snack on.

don’t say i by Eva Gu

in your poems, he said. it makes it

too personal apparently, which makes me wonder

what else is too personal for him

to bear. when blood ran from my body

like the life of the nile

he ran too

for his own life

because my womanness was too much for his body to understand.

i am not me, period. i am me

comma

the definition of oppression is not my identity

so don’t slip that harness over my head

don’t make me walk the tightrope between

fighting

and living

my mother was not a feminist

but she lived a feminist

and i

will do

both.

my mother tells me by Eva Gu

she likes her accent. it doesn’t hurt

when the broken edges of her english cut her

the way they cut ariel’s feet when she

walked on the shards of her slippers.

a long time ago her english teacher once told her

never to be ashamed of who

she was, that americans love

the accents of the exotic, and i

was too ashamed of my country to tell her

the truth: that we love the white sand beaches of third world countries, but forget when

malnutrition shrivels their bones

just as easily as ours

fatten. how could i explain that when her english teacher said the exotic, he meant

british,

australian,

and french?

mother, i hated having to break the truth

to you: that there’s a line between being

fashionably foreign and being

too foreign. those people only love

what’s theirs.

 

originally published in The Eunoia Review

Eva Gu is a Chinese American writer/poet. She has attended the Kenyon Review Young Writers workshop, and her work is forthcoming in the Eunoia Review. She reads for Polyphony HS.