The language of my grandparents was aborted in my childhood.
I wanted to eulogize it, but I did not have the words.
I line my eyes with my ancestors’ ashes, color my lips with gochujang.
I think I am doing penance. For what, I do not know.
The white woman sprinkles grains of pity on my wounds,
says, Darling, not everything is about race. I cannot answer her
because my mouth is filled with rice. I am chewing on
chink and gook and they get stuck in my teeth.
Choking, I cough, Maybe not. But maybe more than you think.
She doesn’t respond. I look down— my hands are invisible.
America, who will bridge the gap between your dream and your truth?
I try, but I am only a half-realized echo of the diaspora, a ghost
who haunts the chasm and cannot reach the other side.
America, you are Athena, untouchable in your crown of reason,
your golden hair smelling like a battleground, metallic
and unyielding. I am Medusa, raped on your sacred shores
by the sea who claimed me for himself, that watery expanse
who caresses continents but belongs to no land.
America, you have turned my black hair to serpents.
You have made me a monster, and now no one will meet my eye.
By Megan Kim
Megan Kim is a mixed-race student currently living in Oregon. She is the founder and editor of her high school literary magazine and holds a state championship title for poetry recitation. She believes in art as a means of expression, healing, growth, connection, and activism. In her free time, she enjoys adventuring with the people she loves. More of her writing can be found at magpiedreams.tumblr.com.