Asians Who Misbehave

by Caitlin Wong


I’m troubled. So they told me,
But not in writing. No,
It was playground hand games and
Newspaper clippings and two girls
Sneaking a kiss on the train.

I’m troubled. So I told myself, the problem
Child, the black sheep, the middle
Sibling. They lost that Golden
girl, that Sparkly Woman,
Ana Roxanne and me both:
               In a fraction of a second

All I am is
Nothing—or, star flower
in his mind. He’s on me like
Eyeliner smudge. That stuff,
Doesn’t wash off so easy in water,

I learned the hard way. That they all
Wanted me this way. I knew from the
Posters on his wall. Girl doesn’t even
Look like me, but she’s drawn with
Slanted eyes and Hiragana, so

Same thing. I jumped at being desired,
Wouldn’t you too? If you learned to be ugly
'Til strangers on the street started
Tossing you a bone, then all the sudden
I’m exotic, docile, misbehaving just for you.

Lighting one up now, just for me.
Bad behavior is my specialty. Time to
Put on my Big Boy shoes, I said, and
Quit it with the chipped black nail polish.
I’ve got a brand new attitude.


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