Confessions of a minority student
I have forgotten how it all started. success
This tightening of my throat grows success
and I cannot breathe. Suddenly success
college dorms and students’ smiles success
nauseate me. Here where I used to success
imagine a promising life, a new circle success
away from family, honest folks success
who worked and worked, and never lived. success
Choices they never made in their sagging skin, success
the fine lines around their eyes. success
Uni: a mere word, carefree success
for those who can afford it, my dear. success
Who am I to believe in it? success
But I must prove that I too success
am good enough for this game. success
Don’t be so sensitive, you say. success
But even racism in its simplest form success
is brutal, a day-to-day butchering. success
They tell me make yourself at home here success
though today, just like yesterday and success
the day before, no one joins me success
at the dining hall where I sit. success
Who cares about what I think success
as I cube potatoes in silence? success
It is not alright to be lonely.
Incoming: I smell tear gas everywhere.
Imagine there are no countries.
Once upon a time I lived in a place where the metro was never
late. Everything ran like clockwork, and it was so safe you could
walk to Tsui Wah for a bowl of wonton noodles at midnight.
There’s no word in the dictionary for this.
Someone said to me, young people are the same all over the world.
He gave us eyes to see them, and lips that we might tell.
Since June, my screen time has increased by a hundred and fifty
percent. I go to the news as soon as I wake up and right before
going to sleep, concerned something might break out again
when I am out in the supermarket or picking up my daughter.
I think of my former boss, a very wise woman. If she were here,
she’d know what to do.
Karen’s advice: stop torturing yourself.
Think of your parents, think of how much you love them.
Smell that fear.
Incoming: let’s not give up goodness. It is in real danger.
A mosaic of dreamers despite the rain.
the heavy rain.
The world will never forget.
The above poems are taken from 回家 Letters Home (Nine Arches Press, 2020).
You can read Hideko Sueoka’s interview with Jennifer Wong here.
Jennifer Wong (jenniferwong.co.uk)
Born and grew up in Hong Kong, Jennifer is the author of three collections, including 回家 Letters Home (Nine Arches Press 2020), which has been named the Wild Card Choice by PBS. She studied English at Oxford and received an MA in Creative Writing at the University of East Anglia. She has a Creative Writing PhD from Oxford Brookes where she teaches part-time. She is also a translator, a reviewer and runs the What We Read Now online monthly poetry series. She is currently a writer-in-residence at Wasafiri. ninearchespress.com
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