I, As a Machine By Ty Kia

I, As a Machine

When I was growing
up, I made the grave
mistake of being Asian
and a child at the same

When you are Asian
and growing up there
comes a point when you
tire of the incessant

When you realize that
answering “no” does
nothing but fan the
flames of discontent
further, so you resign,
indignantly, to play
the game they wish for
you to play.

When you wade through
the filth of questions
like “Do you eat cats
and dogs?” or “Do your
parents think you lack
discipline?” or “Do you
love math?”

And at last retaliate
by giving in, surrendering
yourself to your deceit
as brides were forced to
do to their suitors in
distant times that feel
sometimes not too distant.

And so you respond with glee,
“Yes, I love math, it is
my one and only, my treasure,
the one thing I know and in
which I excel, because I am
not a person, as you suspect,
but a robot, as you have thought,
who does not eat but numbers and
does not drink but calculations.

“Your first mistake, however
was to assume that I, as a
machine, could not feel

“When in reality, I can compute
more loss, store more anguish
in the banks of my memory,
than you could ever feel in the
stagnant years of your entire

“In the reality, that is,
that you have constructed
for me, wherein I am not like
you, but like an otherworldly
thing you do not and cannot and
refuse to try to understand;
that you are able to label
only as some other that you
cannot help to belittle and to

By Ty Kia


“Ty Kia is a high school student growing up, or at least giving the pretense of growing up, in Illinois. A first-generation American of Thai heritage, he seeks to add his own spices to the melting pot and plans to devote his life to studying the cultural implications of entropy.”

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