I used to bastardize my name
so it’d fit more conveniently
in a western mouth.
I’m convinced that cultural names
are uttered like spells
magic only we possess –
why bother making it easy on others, when
they should be grateful we’ve
blessed them in the first place?
I’ve heard the music in
a tonal language,
tasted the sweetness of coconuts
that ripen in the Vietnamese sun
how dare I leave a bitter taste on
the surname that surpassed
Happy Asian Pacific American Heritage Month! I’m dedicating a few poems to my family this May. Please feel free to share your stories in the comments below.