Melting Pot

I am a brown girl named after a black man.
Half Filipino, and half some sort of white,
and people ask me if I’m Mexican.

My eyes are too big to consider me any type of Asian.
My nose is too pointed to be full Filipino.
My hair too dark and thick to be fully white.

My mother’s side of the family thinks
I’m named after the river in the Bible.
It was enough that she married a brown man,
imagine a child named after a black man.

I am ‘exotic’ to them.
I am the hot sauce on the table,
the stain on a napkin.
Brown eyes where blue ones should be.

But I don’t speak Ilocano either.
At my father’s family reunions I eat peanut butter and jelly’s.
I am white wash on a brown canvas,
bleach on leather.

My accent reeks of nothing in particular.

When I was born, my parents were the only interracial couple in our neighborhood.
Apparently in the twentieth century,
it was still a big deal when
porcelain skin and chocolate complexion
had the audacity to fall in love.

For a country that claims that it is not just for white men,
it was made just for white men.
The other men should stick to their stereotypes,
stick to women who aren’t white.
And maybe then, only then, it wouldn’t end up with
girls like me.

I’m not ashamed of my culture.
I mean, how could I be ashamed of something
I don’t even have.

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