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Gifted and Talented

Updated: Apr 2, 2023

Dear Asian Youth,

gifted and talented

bright-eyed babe,

you twirl your pencil in your hands

you seek sun and scraped knees

you talk too loud in class,

in the best sense

your words make a dry mouth

a thirst to know more

To be more

they teach you to aspire, among the stacks of books you drink

and the letters you weave together, among your countless calculations

and world-weary abacus. How funny it looks,

contrasted against your young hands

ah, your hands,

they shall hold them, tiny palms encircled, and tell you you are destined for greater things

and suddenly it doesn’t matter.

It doesn’t matter how loud you talk,

how bright your eyes shine,

Good children are quiet

They are well-behaved

They know

They see

They think,

minds whirring unlike any other

take the world in and apart with your mental


there’s no need to talk,

there is only knowing.

No need to question or feel or yearn or decry

that is simply how it is

and suddenly, you are the perfect child

you are neat grades and clean shoes

you are a pleasure to have in class

you are gifted and talented

You are the child your parents dreamed of

when they came here, miles away

the child of opportunity

the one seizing the better, fabled life

the truest American lie, for you work twice as hard as any other

and it still isn’t enough.

Will it ever be?

Even as your hands tremble with fear, unable to bring pencil to paper

even as you pin your worth on a single test

They can still hold you close and tell you, over and over

You are enough

You did your best

But you tell yourself, yes

I did my best

I did the best I could

I tried and if this is my best,

it still isn’t it?

I’m still not enough, am I?

funnily enough, I have no special talents

I am not gifted

I hold calluses in my hand, heavy and red

these are marks of work

For I can at least admit to diligence

Things that put up what I wanted to be

I want to make you proud, I cry,

heavy heart buried in the soil from

my homeland

Am I really doing the best I can?

foundations can crumble so easily

when built on unstable terrain

I never had the constitution to love myself so fully

It seems like the truest feat of strength at this point

It seems like the truest mark of genius

full confidence to question

to yearn

To speak

to learn, all until that familiar thirst outweighs everything else

Until all that is left is the endless dialogue between you and the universe, who echoes your calls the deeper you dig and the louder you shout

Gifted and talented, they say,

but you are like any other.

You are as aimless as the skies,

For who needs an explanation to exist?

Certainly not the universe,

Certainly not you,

Fret not, child

You are made of stardust and moon rock and soil

You are your origin and your future in one

You are like everyone else

and it should not be any other way,

For what is more splendid than being part of this vast expanse of space

These conversations over and over again

These queries

These acts of love told through the tongues of formulas and numbers

You will inhale, calm collected

Miles away from classrooms and textbooks

These are the greater things they spoke of

The humble everything, for pursuit

of knowledge is its own act of love

And you are truly gifted with a heart that yearns for more,

Something even greater than a brilliant mind.

- Billy

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