Dear Asian Youth, This is an unaddressed apology For my mom, with everything I can give. I love you, and I’m sorry. I’m sorry my tongue...
Dear Asian Youth,
This is an unaddressed apology
For my mom, with everything I can give.
I love you, and I’m sorry.
I’m sorry my tongue hitches when you tell me you love me.
That I cannot choke up the guts to reciprocate the words.
I’m sorry your immutable appearances
Showcase your distinct features.
I’m sorry we will always be treated like second-class citizens,
That for one second I regretted the way I look
I know conceiving was almost unfeasible
I’m sorry we need to walk around nervous,
That stealing quick glances behind our shoulders
Isn’t for unrequited love but to ensure no one’s trailing behind
For my sister, with every bit of humor I can muster.
I love you, and I’m sorry.
I’m sorry for denying your calls
Faltering between the answer and decline button every time
I’m sorry for the New York City apartments
The ones that reap our wealth
Smothering the bits and pieces Paps earns
Tucking it all away and in turn giving you a cardboard box-sized
I’m sorry the subway is now off limits
That you need to think not once,
But innumerable times
Before you step anywhere near the train tracks
For myself, with every little fleeting moment I spend alone, I’m most sorry to you.
That you spend most nights
Concocting what can only be called
Worst case scenarios
That rejection brings you to your knees
And tears stream ceaselessly down your cheeks
I’m sorry you have wondered for a miniscule second
Whether if you were anything but Asian
It would be a cause for celebration
Don’t dye your onyx hair
Until your roots whittle away
Into defunct strands
Don’t widen your pupils
When your eyes jolt to mimic
Don’t deny your identity
The one your mother cried out to the Lord for
To give her a child
When she was almost deemed barren
The one your sister proudly pronounces
Grinning from ear to ear
Only to let her eyes pursue the same expression
The one you cannot change
Even if given the chance
With nothing but hopes of forgiveness and love,
This poetry piece is a way of conveying my emotions to my sister and mother, although they most likely won’t get the chance to receive it. Enclosed are paragraphs of apologies for things I’ve thought about over the past few months – that I regret – and also things that I’m sorry about, even if they’re out of my control.
Keeren Maria Setokusumo is a rising senior and current junior attending Jakarta Intercultural School, Indonesia. Her passion for equalizing women’s rights and debunking racial stereotypes can almost be comparable to her love for reading.
Cover Photo Source: https://society6.com/product/an-apology-u0a_print