I Am Not an Immigrant
I am not an immigrant.
I do not have the honor.
not to claim that name as my own,
for I am but their child.
for I did not cross oceans as they did.
really, I never had to learn how to swim.
I knew from birth how solid land felt
and never once dealt with the doubt
that comes from knowing there is no earth
to hold you if you fall, no point at which
you are not at the mercy of the waves.
For I did not see traditions as they did.
My eyes were clouded by the conceit of youth,
and teared up at the observation of customs.
They, on the other hand, were steadfast,
expressing full faith in the old traditions,
finding them at times misguided
but never half-baked.
For I did not fight battles as they did.
Never did I bear the burden of adversity.
Nor was I crucified on the cross of low expectations,
hearing through ears muffled by the blood
that trickles from crowns of prejudiced thorns,
“You don’t belong here. Go back where you came from,”
after having come so very far.
For I have not yet come so far,
though I have so far yet to go,
since I was born in this place,
this place where beginnings are born.
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.