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Chia-Lun Chang

The Milky Way

What should you be called?

why don’t you date americans. black doesn’t count. how much rent do you pay. do you live in chinatown. which one. why are you so serious. are you confused about your nationality. can you read. how long have you been learning english. how many languages do you speak. why are people so smart over there. why are you small. why don’t you go back to your country. you want to stay. don’t you have a choice. don’t eat intestines. why should we learn chinese if we couldn’t even breathe there. drink bottled water. make dumplings. do you miss your family. will they come. can you smell our freedom.

Be social, be in, mixed into society. Have an English name. Talk like us. Watch the big bang theory. Get an Asian girl for me. Learn slang. Find a line. Wait two and a half years for a piece of paper.

say the word. you are one of us now. you are just like white people. we welcome you. come back, okay. the computer always spells for you. don’t leave your clothes on the tree. let me be international. are you intentionally blinking. see my wounds. the lab is your home. you should be quiet. you don’t fit in. is buddha the fat guy. is there more than one fat guy. can i do your makeup. who do you like more. which part. can you see without glasses. what aren’t you happy. what’s wrong with us. we never expected this land to save you.

No one stares at me
but America, you are everywhere
selling movies
train me
follow the subtitle

I have removed the crumbs
in my body
in hopes of
losing and be invisible

Chia-Lun Chang was born and raised in Taipei, Taiwan. She is a poet, artist, translator and the author of the chapbook, One Day We Become Whites (2016).


See full list of 2016 Emerging Poets Fellows