Steal This
for Yi-Fen Chou

Take my
Indiana of 1979.
Take its swallow of heat,
its desolate hatred,
its kindness come late
and stoic boy classmate 
sitting next, with 
dreams gone from his eyes
at the age of 7. 
Take the threats 
of blonde boys, 
their teeth and spit in your face.
Take the insomnia, the stares and the gestures;
keep your fear.
Keep the nasal pronunciation,
the mispronunciation.
Keep chink in your throat
and turn that intention inward. 
              Here’s a new dictionary. 
              Here’s a real history book.
Take the yellowface  
with my fist through it.
Keep your rudimentary imagination.
Keep the sunscreen and the hat.
Keep your troops away
from our red light
districts and drink 
the water you poisoned.
Go back to your ancestors.
Take their 
raping nightmares.
Bear witness. 
Describe it 
with your real name.
Take your machines out 
of our mountains. 
Take the white out of what
you see in the mirror 
by reading, living, breathing
talking, seeing 
only us.
Take non-existence
with you,
past the front door.
Keep your blank identity.
I want mine. It’s not for sale.
It’s not for steal. 
              Then again: try it. 
              See what happens.

Dear Best American Poetry,

We are over here.
Have you read?

MARIA GREGORIO is a Filipina-American poet, writer, and clinical social worker. She is an alumni of Voices of Our Nations Arts Foundation (VONA) and was mentored by Junot Díaz. Her work has appeared in Voices of Brooklyn (Face to Face Press, 2000), New Trespass Magazine UKKalyani MagazineTRIVIA: Voices of FeminismBigCityLit.Com, and I Let Go of the Stars in My Hand (Great Weather for Media, 2014). She has performed in numerous venues throughout New York City and London. She currently lives in Brooklyn.

The Adirondack Review