Recess in America

I turned aside to let the shadows see my face.
They’d dyed my hair for me, how kind of them.
Now it is black, so are my eyes, my glasses –

The black lenses hide my oriental eyes so well.
I do not understand you, with your butchered tongue.
I am no doctor; I cannot help you heal.

The red asphalt playground floor hit my face.
I melted into my shadow, became more than one.
Now my skin is burnt off, translucent.

The schoolchildren came and pointed at me,
I placed my hands on my head, I meant no harm.
My shadow formed an eye, my head its pupil.

I was one with my shadow, I could not be seen.
But my voice screamed, like a tulip being wrenched,
And it told them I did not belong, my eyes, my mouth.

Sang Yun Jee is a South Korean who currently lives in the Philippines. His works have appeared in Indolent Books and the Austin International Poetry Festival Anthology. They have also been recognized by the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards at the national level.

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