A lot of things sink,
but you never expect certain things to sink.
Like, no one thought Titanic was going to sink back in 1912,
but it did.
No one thought words can crash and sink, but honey, you just did.
Just a moment ago, when you complimented how
my skin looks much lighter yellow now,
you probably didn’t see my heart sink.
Just a moment ago, you told me that I am not Asian,
more like on the side of banana,
you certainly did not notice.
But when you spoke those words,
they sank deeper than you thought.
Sometimes your politeness may mend the chipped tea cups and
your easy-goingness may bridge some unshaken hands
but the real gaps you need to mend are for yourself.
Your lips speak of sophistication and the generosity of your God,
yet you shrug off your words I called out as introductory tongue-twisters
and good-natured mind-shakers.
But little did you know that those words you shrugged off
have crashed against my Freudian iceberg.
Because when the words repeat themselves enough,
they don’t just shrug off,
but they can crash and break.
As your words crashed like Titanic,
I dug deeper for truths, facts previously unseen or unreported
but the deeper I swam, the deeper I fell,
and when I thought I was losing myself in this conundrum,
I realized that you don’t even remember saying these words.
And perhaps this shipwreck of yours was unintentional,
since you were the new neighbor from a different land,
awkwardly standing on my door step,
trying to please with the aid of a clever tongue-twister,
with jokes that should impel me to nod a couple times and cross arms with you.
Perhaps your heart and my heart were speaking in different tongues,
and we were lost in translation.
Whatever your forgotten Titanic meant for you,
it made me realize Jack and Rose,
the two parts of me that you labeled as Asian and Banana,
the two imperfect parts that make up something worth protecting.
Now I am holding out both of my arms to you my friends,
arms of Jack and Rose
greeting you not with awkward hand shakes
but with my arms open
and hearts open
to welcome you into my own home
Leave all your bags of guesses and radars
and explore my winding roads and secret passages
with cautious feet and patience
I will do the same
the next time you greet me with your arms wide open.