my last name is yuen
Updated: Feb 23
my last name is yuen.
it's quite simple.
not yen, not juen, or wen or wan
or however the hell you'd say it
because at the end of the day
you think we all eat dogs and have yellow skin.
a bunch of pan-faced, buck-toothed,
squinty eyed rice pickers.
nay ho ma?
welcome to chinatown!
a tourist attraction for you
was a safe haven for us.
you steal our culture
our food, our materials, our pride...
we put trust into your rounded eyes
and pointed noses
your spacious lands
and endless opportunities
only for you to catch us by the neck
lynched with the red white and blue noose your founding fathers braided with their liberated hands
hands that have never touched the soft dough of
my grandmother’s bao
hands that have never worked the way my grandfather's did
hands that never washed and bathed seven children in shared, murky bath water,
because america offers no sympathy for chinks.
i put my mask around my ears and pull it over my mouth
i pull it over my mouth only for some unnameable face to yell "china virus!" through pointed teeth
we weep for those we have lost
we weep for our parents, our children, our elders
my grandmother struggled, trying to wash rice in a river much too frail for the calloused hands of a working woman
my grandmother always washed her rice.