hey you      don’t be fooled      by the banana

of my skin      I’m one of the good ones     you see

you can tell by my accent      raked rootless

the shuffled mahjong tiles      of my teeth

in the mailbox of envy      I’m a lacquered

postcard of ease      a lotus blossom baby

born to please      raised in a kitchen sink

I guess you could say      I know my place

by an open fire      I guess you could say

my first language      was guilt      my first god

a white man      though I could see      right through

the ruthless bow      of his mouth      so much mercy

I only cried      the first few times      he made my name

sour beyond belief      he was one

of the good ones you see      the kind that kissed me

good night      after I scrubbed out      the Oriental

from behind my knees      that still makes me hungry

for an America      I can never quite reach

Lyn Li Che is from Malaysia. Her poems have been published or are upcoming in Indiana Review, Gulf Coast, BOAAT, Michigan Quarterly Review, Waxwing, Asian American Writers’ Workshop’s The Margins, Tinderbox Poetry Journal, and others. She currently lives in New York City, where she works in tech strategy.