From By Annie Ma

From

I come from
the Silicon Valley,
from
twinkling clouds and sweet August winds —
from
Jeez, why are there so many Asians here?
from
bitter herbal medicine and unlucky number 4.

I come from
full-face sun visors and shameful Ying-ah-leesh,
from
pandering smiles and tacky designer clothes—

I come from
kitchen drawers stuffed with grocery bags,
from
a tiresome diet of millet porridge and rice,
from
fetid tofu and scratchy chinaware,
from
Sriracha, Kikkoman, and Lee Kum Kee.

I come from
If you don’t receive a good letter, you can go live on the streets.
from
a classical piano training I can’t recall anymore,
from
debate and chemistry and community service and journalism,
from
captain to intern to president to editor-in-chief,
from
So what if it’s Friday? If your friends are relaxing, this is a time for you to get ahead.

I am from
the day I joined “subtle asian traits” on Facebook, 1.4 million strong,
I am from
the day I watched the first episode of 流星花园,
I am from
the day I made wontons, mother’s own recipe
with a whiff of Sriracha,
I am from
the day I discovered rapper Rich Brian—
from
“Do the shit for the people that look like me.”
I am
chemistry and mathematics in a sleek blue-bottled classroom,
I am
poetry along the whispering August trails,

I come from
a history, a family,
and a culture that is mine.

By Annie Ma

Previously Publised in Eunoia Review

Biography:

Annie is a high school senior at The Harker School in San Jose, where she is the editor-in-chief of the school’s literary magazine, HELM. Her poetry and prose have won several Scholastic Writing Awards. She is the founder and president of Book Bank (www.bookbank.org), a nonprofit organization that serves underprivileged communities by collecting and distributing free books to K-8 school children.

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