Pronunciation Guide for My Mother
How do you say
“Hers is a name I can’t pronounce”
Is there a word for that in German?
Something akin to bedauern (regret)
or the Irish word for daughter (inion)?
Did you know I would be the one
with the light eyes, the Barry nose, the double eye-lids?
That I would pass as hakujin
even though I’m hafu?
Your nickname for me—
the one that means seaweed
instead of child of the law—
is like Lori but with an N.
My full name is staccato song
in my father’s mouth,
a drumbeat rhythm
singing the story of who I am
my face fails to tell
reflecting who I am
in ways you were never
able to say.
By Noriko Nakada
Noriko Nakada is a multi-racial Asian American who creates fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and art to capture the stories she has been told not to talk about. She is the author of the Through Eyes Like Mine memoir series. Excerpts, essays, and poetry have been published in The Rising Phoenix Review, Hippocampus, Catapult, Linden Ave, and elsewhere.
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