Photo by Anna Auza on Unsplash

Distortion

Where are you from, a person is often asked.
Where indeed? I have no answer.


My eyes are slanted, but I'm not Oriental.
I'm not a rug, don't tread on me.
My jeans are Levi's, but I'm not a stadium.
Don't play games with me.
My feet are blistered, but I don't wear high heels.
I can walk on broken glass.

I'm from California, I say, naive of the social cues.
No, but farther back, they insist.
What do you mean, I reply, and it hits me.

What's a brown girl like you doing in a desert like this?

I lock my jaw, squint my chinky eyes, and say,
I was born in Oakland, California at the Oak Knoll
Naval Hospital on September 18, 1983.
Cut me, I bleed red white and blue.

I don't understand how people see me, and every day
is a struggle to reconcile the world that I belong.
So I don't. Their struggle with me
is not my struggle.

I eat rice with my bare hands and I shoot guns in the desert.
I like superhero movies and pop music.
How you see me is not my problem.
I am who I am and I don't give a damn.
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