my mother tells me

she likes her accent. it doesn’t hurt
when the broken edges of her english cut her
the way they cut ariel’s feet when she
walked on the shards of her slippers.
a long time ago
her english teacher once told her
never to be ashamed of who
she was, that americans love
the accents of the exotic, and i
was too ashamed of my country to tell her
the truth:
that we
love the white sand beaches of third world countries, but forget when
malnutrition shrivels their bones
just as easily as ours
fatten. how could i explain that when her english teacher said the exotic, he meant
and french?
mother, i hated having to break the truth
to you: that there’s a line between being
fashionably foreign and being
too foreign. white people only love
what’s theirs.

Eva Gu is a Chinese American from the San Francisco Bay Area. She is an alumna of the 2016 Kenyon Review Young Writers Workshop and attends Dougherty Valley High School as a high school senior.

This entry was posted in Poetry and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to my mother tells me

  1. Wow, this was something I could really relate to. Awesome writing!

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