hsinchu, usa by Dana Chiueh

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hsinchu, usa

in my dreams, there’s a snake
trying to slip through my chopsticks.
I still prefer forks most days, and spoons for rice
even though I used to eat brown rice with forks
in the school cafeteria in new york. back when our car was a bright
green volkswagen bug
and it’s funny, i never noticed how different i looked
black plaits, sometimes monolids drooping over almond-shaped eyes
until i began to fit in

in fifth grade science, we looked at our hair
under a microscope. mine was the only
mongoloid. a rare specimen.

‘home’ is a damning word. if only i could get away with writing
Narnia on innocuous school assignments that carve at my core
i try to tie my identity to this window and this bed,
forget the long agos. i tried assimilation once, but–
never mind.
i mean, everything has a learning curve.

i wish i could write beautiful poetry about feeling unwelcome wherever I go.
i stopped fantasizing about leaving after a while–
time has this uneasy way of making you learn to love anything
or at least accept it. most days, you can hear the collective ache
in the heavy way the air hangs around the trees,
                                                                                  but now, at least
i can pick out the nuances between spring onions and garlic scapes and chives.
and if there are snakes in the garden, i have learned to let them go.

Dana Chiueh

Dana Chiueh is a New York-bred writer and creator who lives in Hsinchu, Taiwan. Her work has been recognized by the Scholastic Arts and Writing Awards, as well as several online literary magazines. Her favorite song of the moment is “Paragraphs” by Blackbear, and she can be found at her Twitter at twitter.com/goodnightxmoonx