Sunday, July 24, 2022



Taking my order by phone, she asks me

What do you look like? So I can find you?

Except that’s not how she says it. Dropping

words the way my Korean mother does,

still making herself understood, she waits

while I decide. Pausing, as I do, as

I have done since the first time someone asked

me with genuine interest what are you?

I answer this woman in a way I

know already she will never accept,

take the chance I never take. Yes, she says,

I think I know you. Spotting her just as

she comes through the door, I wait for her to

scan the room, find me and then decide. She

approaches, tosses bags on the table,

mouths the word I know she’s thinking, the word

I’ve heard a dozen times. Hapa. It is

the one my mother hates, the reason why

I was grown before she took me home to

meet her people. I see her stiff face, black

eyes of resentment at their turned backs, their

conditional love. Now I speak the truth

of who I am, or at least half of who

I am. This woman receives from me a

wide smile. I thank her, watch her go knowing

half a truth is better than any lie.


Leona Sevick is a professor of English at Bridgewater College in Virginia, where 
she teaches Asian American literature (she is an Asian American poet). Sevick was 
named a 2019 Walter E. Dakin Fellow for the Sewanee Writers’ Conference, and 
serves on the advisory board of the Furious Flower Black Poetry Center.


We loved reading the work that we’ve published (clearly), and we want an 
opportunity to better hear our contributors. We're featuring audio recordings of 
poems from our pages, read by the poet. This an open invitation to all contributors 
from any of our issues, we were delighted to print your work, now we’re eager to 
hear it.

No comments:

Post a Comment